Why climate change is bad news for women and children
Monday December 20, 2021, By Manasa Sai Sekar
Climate change refers to an undeniable shift in weather and temperatures that affect humanity. The effect of climate change is becoming intolerable and rapid measures are being taken. It has impacted women and children by deepening inequalities. Women and youngsters are particularly susceptible to global climate change due to social, economic, and cultural factors. Recent data shows that 70% of the 1.3 billion people living in conditions of poverty are women.
Especially in urban areas, 40% of the poorest households are headed by women. Women dominate food production, which is approximately 50-80%, but they own 10% of the land.
How has climate change impacted women and children?
Across rural communities throughout the globe, women and children perform the task of fetching food and water apart from performing critical household responsibilities. Natural disasters, heat waves, and rising seawater levels are already challenging the physical abilities of women to perform tasks.
Globally, women do not have a certain standard of living because of their poor socio-economic status compared to men.
According to a recent report on climate change, two industries—retail and hospitality— that majorly employ women were severely affected by climate change.
There is a community of female farmworkers that go to the extent of removing their wombs because they don’t want to lose jobs for seeking leaves during their menstrual cycle. They are forced to migrate from the lands they own due to extreme drought conditions caused by climate change.
Climate change has to be attended to because we are being affected by it every day. Here are some ways:
Changing socio-cultural norms: Socio-cultural standards exist to enhance the overall growth of a community and for the betterment of humanity, but, over a decade, these norms have obstructed the growth of women. While drastic measures take time to show results, addressing stereotypes and non-conscious biases first will go a long way.
Include women in your conversation: Women’s priorities and needs must be reflected in the planning and development process especially from an organizational perspective. Women should play an active part in the discussions regarding the allocation of resources for climate change initiatives or CSR projects. It is also important to ensure gender-sensitive investments in programs that will indefinitely impact millions of lives.
Encapsulating security into development: While developmental projects are being executed, it is essential to integrate security into projects. Any climate change internal or external policies should consider the impact on women and children. They must also assess the risk factors for women and children.
To conclude, the poor are disproportionately affected and are in the greatest need of adaptation strategies in the face of climate change. All genders working in natural resources sectors, like agriculture, are likely to be affected. However, the impact of global climate change on gender is not equivalent. Women are increasingly more vulnerable than men.
- A Senior Consultant from Consulting & Solutions team at Avtar, has worked in four different industries such as Retail, Telecommunication, Agriculture, and HealthCare.