It is an established fact that climate change does not affect everyone proportionally. Even among men and women, the effects of climate change are recorded differently. Women and girls confront unique risks as a result of cultural norms and their lower socioeconomic standing in society. The so-called designated household duties of women cause them to consume a disproportionate amount of their time in collecting natural resources such as water, firewood, and forest products frequently. This blog outlines the impacts of climate change, showing that, while women play an important role in supporting communities to cope with the effects of climate change, cultural customs and practices often times work against them.
Relation between women and climate change
There is an unobserved connection between gender and the impacts of climate change. The societal norms that women are more emotional and better suited to household responsibilities continue to be a serious obstacle for ambitious women resulting in them being underemployed. Women are traditionally responsible for domestic labor, so they have less time to:
Women represent two-thirds of farmers in developing countries. According to research, land farmed by women is 20-30% less than men in agriculture because of the lack of access to the same opportunities and resources and that too on the smallest plots of land. In addition to farming, they are responsible for caring and housekeeping. Many women don’t even have land rights, which is an indirect threat to food scarcity as more than half of the many country's farmers are women. Women and girls have spent a lot of time collecting water and forest fodder due to the drying of water supplies and the destruction of forest fodder. This should lead to more ecologically friendly decision-making at the household and national levels.
The higher level of education makes women more aware of family planning and contraception. It reduces the stigma associated with contraception, which improves not just women’s health but also for the environment because healthier children lower the global emissions.
We should not always think of technology and policy as a solution to climate change, other approaches, such as how society is constructed, are also necessary. However, the structure of society is equally important. Women are statistically more likely to include the needs of family and community. In the latest research, it was found that women in positions of power correlate with more attention to sustainability and climate issues.
Problems associated with climate change and women
UN figures indicated that 80% of people displaced by climate change are women. After every aftermath of any climate-related events, the rate of violence against women increases. Many female-headed families are more likely to be poor around the world compared to other households after climatic disasters. In many nations, women eat last, so during food shortages and droughts, women will eat less. Men and boys in South Asia consume twice as many calories as their female counterparts, whereas girls in India are four times more likely to be suffering from malnutrition than boys. Women bear the brunt of climate change and its impact on physical health, livelihoods, food insecurity, and gender-based violence. However, women continue to be under-represented in decision-making in both national delegations and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change bodies.
Women must have a place at the table in order to have a resilient future. To be prepared for future climate change, the voices of the unseen food producers must be heard. Women are on the front lines of climate change. While women are great at connecting the dots between climate change and its effects on health, right now we are lacking them in leadership to make a change in moving towards a clean future. We should promote the call for women’s full, equal, and meaningful participation in climate leadership at all levels. It has to change and be more equitable. Gender priority as a climate solution has not gotten the attention it deserves, despite the fact that it has been on the global radar for years. Now, it is the time to build a resilient future by making it a priority.
“We might survive the catastrophes, but will our grandchildren call this planet home in 2100 if our trajectory continues?”