Gender quotas increase the equality and effectiveness of climate policy interventions | Nature Climate Change

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Interventions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions strive to promote gender balance so that men and women have equal rights to participate in, and benefit from, decision-making about such interventions. One conventional way to achieve gender balance is to introduce gender quotas. Here we show that gender quotas make interventions more effective and lead to more equal sharing of intervention benefits. We conducted a randomized ‘lab’-in-the-field experiment in which 440 forest users from Indonesia, Peru and Tanzania made decisions about extraction and conservation in a forest common. We randomly assigned a gender quota to half of the participating groups, requiring that at least 50% of group members were women. Groups with the gender quota conserved more trees as a response to a ‘payment for ecosystem services’ intervention and shared the payment more equally. We attribute this effect to the gender composition of the group, not the presence of female leaders. Decision-making structures in forest-user communities often exclude women. This lab-in-field experiment shows that groups in which at least 50% of members were women conserved more trees, and distributed benefits more equally, in a payment for ecosystem services intervention.

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