Climate Change, News

Studies Suggest Women are More Affected by the Climate Crisis

Everybody on the planet is beginning to see the impacts of climate change on the world around them. Women, however, are being affected by the climate crisis on a much greater scale than men.

ActionAid, an international charity working with women and girls living in poverty, suggests women are more vulnerable to the effects of climate change because they constitute the majority of the world’s poor and it is these extreme weather patterns that are responsible for exploiting existing gender inequalities. Across the world, women are also more likely to rely on the land and natural resources for their food and income. Malawian gender and climate change expert, Chimwemwe Nyambosa Ndhlovu, has explained how women and girls in Malawi do most of the farming to feed their families, the collection of water and wood, as well as the labour in the house but flooding, droughts, and other climate-related issues make their already disproportionately challenging lives even harder. The impact of climate change has also caused a notable rise in tensions within the household, leading to an increase in gender-based violence.

In times of disaster, women are more likely to suffer. When climate change has forced women to leave their homes, they are most at risk of rape, trafficking, adolescent pregnancy, and early marriage. As well as this, girls are the first to leave school when families are struggling financially because their education is often valued less than boys’. This has a massive impact on their future economic and career opportunities. 

As has been discovered during the current Covid-19 pandemic, it is women who have had to take on more unpaid housework and unpaid childcare than men, meaning they have less time and energy to give to their careers. This creates a vicious cycle in which the more difficult it is for women to work their way up the career ladder or continue their education, the fewer women there are in high positions to be able to enact change. 

Explaining this predicament in more detail, the Centre for Climate Justice based at Glasgow Caledonian University has found the lack of representation women have in climate talks has meant they are unable to have their say on effective solutions. The impact of climate change on women has historically been ignored, but studies now suggest it is imperative they are centralised, or we risk a steep regression of women’s rights across the world. 

This International Women’s Day people around the world will be celebrating the women working together to give underrepresented women a voice on the climate, whilst continuing to fight for climate justice. 

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Rachel Keane

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August 2022
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