Climate Change and Women – What is the Link?

UN Women has set the theme for International Women’s Day on March 8, 2022, which is “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow.” This theme intends to recognize the women and girls who are leading change adaptation, mitigation, and response to create a sustainable future.

What is Climate Change?

Climate change is a change in Earth’s climate and change in weather in places. This can include a change in how much rain is in a certain place each year or a change in temperature for a month or season. These changes may be natural, such as through variations in the solar cycle, or a result of increasing greenhouse gases from human activity.

The Effects of Climate Change

The effect of climate change caused by humans is happening now. These effects are irreversible and will worsen in the future. Some of the effects include:

The Link between Women and Climate Change

Climate change affects women and men differently. About 80% of people who are displaced by climate change are women. Women struggle more to survive and recover from the aftermath of climate change-related events such as floods, drought, and hurricanes. One of the reasons for this struggle is gender inequality. Gender inequality creates struggles for individuals and communities to adapt. For instance, one of the traditional gender roles that are still followed by many parts of the world is women are the primary gatherers of water, food, and fuel as well as dominating subsistence farming, caregiving, and cleaning. Consequently, more women are dependent on the natural resources which climate change threatens most.

Although women are the most affected by climate change, they are also the key actor to mitigate this issue. By empowering and educating women as well as achieving gender equality, we can create sustainable economic growth, population stability as well as improve children’s health and education. All of these can lead to mitigation in climate change. In addition, when women have access to education, family planning, and birth control, they have the ability to decide how many children to have and when to have them. Women can also earn more money, achieve career goals, and face fewer health issues. Research shows that there is a 12% lower CO2 emissions in countries where women have higher social and political status.

Climate change is a pressing issue that concerns everyone, especially women. One of many ways that we can solve climate change is by creating change, empowering women, and achieving gender equality.

– Wanwarin Yensuk


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