On International Women’s Day is an opportunity to reflect on how women around the world are affected by climate change and the various initiatives that are being implemented to reduce their vulnerability. Moving forward, it is critical that all climate action takes a meaningful gender-responsive approach. Here are some of the insights and solutions we found important:
Photo credit: Riya Kumari
Women on a global average 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. For example, women are denied property rights in half of the countries around the world.
Environmental stressors - like droughts, flooding, and sea level rise - help to fuel the rise of organizations that engage in human trafficking and extreme labor exploitation. Due to the existing gender imbalance, women are more vulnerable to these human rights violations. As a sad example, in Northeastern Nigeria, the terrorist group Boko Haram has targeted populations, particularly women, who have been displaced from their land by drought.
The UN found that climate related displacement is also rising globally, and the majority of those forced to leave their homes are women due to higher likelihood of already living in poverty. But evidence is present even in developed countries: in Australia, domestic abuse spikes after bushfires, which have become more intense and longer-lasting in recent years.
These factors, and many more, mean that as climate change intensifies, women will struggle more. Yet, against these odds, women are showing remarkable resilience around the world. They’re leading climate action movements, championing clean sources of energy, and building alternative models of community that prioritize sustainability and cooperation:
Time Magazine's "15 women leaders that are powerful agents of change" includes Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, who lobbies for indigenous communities in Chad.
In the Western Balkans, rural women are being empowered to take part in decision making about climate change that directly affects their wellbeing.
In Fiji, women’s groups are leading adaptation measures at the community scale, improving the resilience of market vendors against cyclones, floods and drought.
With ClimateKuul, you too can support these organizations, where the dual goal of providing women with opportunity and acting on climate change are fulfilled at the same time. We are committed to reach out to an increasing number of projects and communities, recognizing both the importance of women and their need for support.
Sources: Climate Home News; Global Citizen; Devex