Climate action and gender equality: What should the Government prioritise in the first 100 days?

Over the weekend, the Australian public handed the new Labor government a clear mandate on which to act upon as millions of voters put climate action and gender equality first.  


Women and girls across the world have been the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change. Together, these intersecting crises are reversing many hard-won gender equality gains, having a devasting impact on diverse women’s paid and unpaid work, and leading to an increase in violence against women.  

As our world faces these urgent crises, this new Government has a unique opportunity to respond by introducing measures that advance gender equality and global justice to make real improvements to the lives of women overseas.  

The first 100 days are critical in setting a new Government’s agenda – here are three ways that the Labor Government can renew Australia’s place as a global leader on gender equality.   

Increase Australian Aid to support communities in crisis

Extreme poverty is on the rise for the first time in 20 years, yet Australia’s aid budget has plateaued at 0.21 percent of gross national income (GNI), well below Australia’s commitment of 0.7 percent of GNI under the Sustainable Development Goals.   

The Labor party committed to increase international aid to 0.5 per cent of GNI in its 2021 policy platform. Now it’s time to make good on their promises by putting this commitment into action!  

ActionAid is calling on the Government to:  

  1. Legislate international aid to 0.5 percent of GNI by 2025-26 and 0.7 percent of GNI by 2029/2030. 
Centre Gender Equality in Australia’s Foreign Policy and Aid Programming 

Diverse women and people with disability are being hardest hit by the intersecting challenges of COVID-19 and climate change. They are also at the forefront of local and global solutions, using traditional knowledge and innovation to develop bold and effective responses to the challenges facing their communities.  

The Government has signalled that it will provide international leadership on women’s rights by renewing the focus on gender equality in the aid program. This builds off the commitment in the 2021 Labor Policy Platform to ensure that at least 80 per cent of aid spending addresses gender issues in some way. The Government must ensure that this commitment is now translated into concrete actions, while taking additional steps to centre gender equality across all foreign policy.  

ActionAid is calling on the government to:  

  1. Prioritise gender equality in Australia’s foreign policy, and bring an Intersectional gender and human rights analysis across all aspects of foreign policy and aid programming. 
  2. Provide targeted funding for global gender equality by ensuring that 30 percent of all aid investments have gender equality as their primary objective and 85 percent have gender equality as their primary or secondary objective. 
Support women-led climate solutions 

Climate change is the single greatest threat facing humanity. Across the Asia-Pacific region, women and their communities are battling the daily realities of a warming planet – deadly cyclones, floods, severe droughts, and worsening food insecurity. Local women are already leading their communities through this crisis by creating localised and innovative solutions to mitigate, and adapt to, the impacts of climate change.  

The Labor Government must urgently expand its climate ambition in line with its international fair share and prioritise women-led climate solutions. This requires a rapid expansion in climate action at home and abroad, including: 

  1. Increasing emission reduction targets to 75 percent by 2030  
  2. Expanding international climate finance to $3 billion over 2020-2025 and $12 billion annually by 2030  

With communities at home and abroad battling the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, alongside a rapidly worsening climate emergency, rising food insecurity and growing conflict and instability, the time for decisive and bold action is now.