SEI Asia’s free online course on Gender and Environment aims to benefit policymakers and researchers. Photo: Rajesh Daniel / SEI.

SEI’s upcoming massive, open online course (MOOC) will broaden understanding of the different dimensions of the gender-environment relationship to enable researchers, policymakers and civil society to address gender inequality in planning and implementing their development programmes.

Structured in three modules, the first introduction module introduces key issues and concepts around the gender and environment relationship, using the feminist political ecology framework. Participants will learn about the language and concepts including power, intersectionality, and rights and claims to resources. There is also a focus on inequality in the access, control and distribution of resources, particularly land and water. SEI has invited experts in the field of gender and sustainable development to share their knowledge and insights.

The following two content modules focus first on water and agriculture, and then on climate change and disaster risk reduction. Each module ends with a self-assessment quiz and a session in which participants reflect on what they’ve learned.

The online learning course uses a variety of multimedia including short films and animations to facilitate learning of complex topics. Photo: Rajesh Daniel / SEI.

The MOOC will use multimedia to help make the topics more compelling, especially for non-native English speakers who may face barriers with development discourse. The course includes spoken presentations, short films and animations, podcasts, case studies and enacted dialogues, in which two speakers highlight critical issues around gender, environment and marginalized communities.

Bernadette Resurrección, SEI’s former Senior Research Fellow who led the design of the course, said,  “This online course on gender and environment helps show how environmental change – whether acute, or slow and chronic – has different impacts on women and men from different class, ethnic, racial or age groups, civil status, religion and education.”

“The impacts are shaped by power relations that are manifested through differentiated and unequal work and responsibilities, rights to natural resources such as land and water, benefits and decision making on natural resources that affect their everyday lives,” she added.

Understanding these issues is especially vital during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, where women are facing disproportionate social and economic impacts. The pandemic has deepened pre-existing inequalities and further added to the already heavy burdens shouldered by poor and ethnic women, especially those in rural areas whose livelihoods depend on access to forest, water and fisheries resources.

“SEI’s online course on gender and environment will advance our understanding of gender equality in natural resource management and support its achievement, which, as we know, is much needed today,” said Niall O’Connor, SEI Asia Centre Director. “The course starts the user on what we hope is a lifelong journey through the complex issues and challenges we face to achieve gender equality, leading ultimately to a better understanding among environmental and development practitioners and policymakers that gender inequality clearly hinders environmental sustainability.”

O’Connor adds that the course is a way to take up the fight to support gender equality in environment and development policies and projects, especially now as the region struggles to address the worsening impacts of climate change on the lives of its poor and marginalized communities, and women and youth.

In early September, SEI Asia launched a new online learning platform to boost institutional knowledge and capacity among regional partners. This course follows an earlier MOOC on rights-based approaches to environmental sustainability in collaboration with the Raoul Wallenberg Institute.

The initiative is an output of SEI’s Strategic Collaborative Fund Phase 2 (SCF2). Read more about the SCF2 programme here.

Access the course

Start learning about Gender and Environment through this online course.

Go to SEI Online Learning