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Emerging countries need women-led climate action

  • Published
    5th Sep, 2023

Context

Given the interconnection between gender equality and environmental goals, addressing both issues together can accelerate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Disproportionate Impact on Women

  • Climate Change Consequences: Climate change has varying consequences based on location, socioeconomic status, and gender.
  • Productivity Loss and Vulnerability: An International Labour Organization study predicted a significant loss of working hours due to high temperatures, affecting productivity globally. It is to be noted that women are considered highly vulnerable and disproportionately affected by climate change.
  • Vulnerability of Women in Developing Countries: Women in low-income countries, especially those in rural areas, are particularly vulnerable to climate change due to their reliance on natural resources and labor-intensive work for their livelihoods. Poverty, among other variables, makes them more susceptible to climate change's effects.

Gender-Specific Challenges

  • Unequal Burden on Women: Women bear the unequal burden of obtaining basic necessities like clean water and fuel.
  • Vulnerable Occupations: Women in low-income countries are more likely to engage in climate-vulnerable occupations such as agriculture, where they are often underpaid and overworked. Despite being essential to food production, women own a minimal percentage of farmland.
  • Displacement and Gender-Specific Issues: When climate-related disasters occur, a majority of those displaced are women and girls. This displacement makes them vulnerable to prejudice, exploitation, gender-based violence, and limited access to essential services.

Empowering Women for Climate Resilience

  • Exacerbating Gender Inequality: Climate change exacerbates poverty and vulnerabilities among women, potentially pushing 130 million people into poverty by 2050.
  • Investing in Women's Education and Training: To build resilience to climate change, investments in women's education, training, and access to resources are crucial. Empowering them with knowledge and sustainable practices can mitigate the negative impacts.
  • Gender-Inclusive Climate Policy: Women's active participation in climate policy decision-making is essential. Gender parity in decision-making bodies is crucial for effective climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies. Initiatives like the Gender and Climate Change Development Programme aim to amplify women's voices in policymaking.
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