Women bear the brunt of climate change, but they are the world’s best bet in the fight for a clean, healthy, and sustainable planet. Heat waves, droughts, rising sea levels, and extreme storms disproportionately affect women.
Stressing on the need to support women’s participation in climate negotiations and strengthen gender-response policy development ,and to raise awareness of gender and climate change issues.
Women are over represented as heads of low-income households and under represented in high-income groups. In this respect, income levels play a role in CO2 emissions: the higher the income, the higher the emissions from larger houses with more electrical equipment, bigger cars and so on.
Climate change poses a risk for millions. However, women are the most vulnerable to its negative consequences
Climate change and environmental degradation represent a great threat to poverty reduction and to achieving the SDGs. They impact health, food security, nutrition, production, and people’s earnings.
Climate change is a planetary phenomenon that will impact all countries, but its effects are being shaped by pervasive and entrenched gender inequality, That’s because women are more likely to live in poverty than men, have less access to basic human rights like the ability to freely move and acquire land, and face systematic violence that escalates during periods of instability.
Yet given their traditional roles in agricultural production, and as the procurers of water, cooking fuel, and other household resources, women are not only well suited to find solutions to prevent further degradation and adapt to the changing climate – they have a vested interest in doing so.
The first step towards tackling the challenges of climate change is empowering women to safeguard the environment.
Climate change is making it harder to manage household responsibilities like cooking, cleaning, gathering resources, and caring for children, especially in remote rural communities.
Climate change could also increase the likelihood of armed conflicts and exacerbate existing conflicts, two possibilities that threaten women’s health, rights, and overall life outcomes.
Displacement also threatens women’s health in a number of gender-specific ways.
Women also have the knowledge and understanding of what is needed to adapt to changing environmental circumstances in order to determine practical solutions.
But women remain a largely untapped resource due to existing biases, including restricted land rights, lack of access to training, technology and financial resources, and limited access to political decision making due to under representation.
Around the world, women lead on the fight against climate change. These leaders have shaped ambitious climate policies and work hard to bring everyone, like more women and girls, in the discussion. Progress on climate change needs more women at the table.
The report, Gender and Climate Change (available here as a PDF), concludes that women are more severely affected by climate change and natural disasters because of their social roles and because of discrimination and poverty.
To make matters worse, they’re also underrepresented in decision-making about climate change, greenhouse gas emissions, and, most critically, discussions and decisions about adaptation and mitigation. From the report: