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November 2017 | In the News | Women and Climate Change

The Human Development Report 2007-2008 named as ‘Fighting Climate Change: Human Solidarity in a Divided World’ stated that: “Gender inequalities intersect with climate risks and vulnerabilities. Women’s historic disadvantage to their limited access to resources, restricted rights, and a muted voice in shaping decisions make them highly vulnerable to climate change. The nature of that vulnerability varies widely cautioning against generalization. But climate change is likely to magnify existing patterns of gender disadvantage.”

Gender inequality in the effects of climate change has been observed and acknowledged by various organizations like the United Nations, World health organization, Food and Agriculture organization, and disaster management/resilience research. Globally speaking, climate change is not gender neutral because firstly, there is a scarce percentage of women in the renewable energy sector, environmental ministries and agricultural land ownership which affects decisions and involvement at various levels. Secondly, social structures especially in developing countries which see the effects of natural/climate change disasters very severely make women more vulnerable due to lack of rights, mobility and skills. Thirdly, family structures all over the world still largely reflect women in charge of child care, and food and water management for households and thus lack of resources with scarcity of water, wood, electricity burdens women the most.

Currently the United nations runs three flagship programs to address these issues specifically:  1. Addressing the gender inequality of risk in a changing climate 2. Women’s empowerment through Climate-smart agriculture; and 3. Women’s entrepreneurship for sustainable energy. While these programs address disaster resilience, sustainable agriculture and sustainable energy areas respectively, more research that acknowledges the gender approach in climate change can help us create more equitable sustainability strategies that can be incorporated in other fields too.

Take a look at our presentation: November 2017 – News – Women & Climate

Rucha Newalkar

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