Climate change, gender and women in the global South

Veröffentlicht am: 26. November 2019|Bericht, Publikation|Themen: |

Snapshots of impacts, challenges and actions

by Mariama Williams, South Centre

Beitrag von Mariama Williams auf der Feministischen Klimakonferenz, am 22.11.2019 in Wien (mitveranstaltet von WIDE)

Full text as pdf

(26.11.2019) Climate change has broad economy-wide impacts but also specific sectoral and cross-sectoral impacts for developing countries’ economies and the lives and livelihoods of the men, women and children within those economies.

The impacts include multiple damages to infrastructure with implications for economic growth and trade, and losses and damage to resources and properties, which contribute to displacement, migration and conflicts.

Specific economy-wide effects of climate change include hampered potential growth, increased cost of rehabilitation and diverting funds from development, and the cross-sectoral impacts on employment, production and reduced government revenues from decreased productivity of sectors such as agriculture, forestry and fisheries.

The challenges for a large proportion of women and men in developing countries are at least fourfold: rising water scarcity and shortage, food insecurity, loss of employment and, ultimately, loss of lives. For example, men and women suffer different health effects and differences in mortality rates during climate-related extreme events.

Emerging studies show that women are more likely than men to die during disasters, men consume more energy than women, and women are more likely than men to suffer from the burning of biomass for energy/cooking because of high levels of black carbon.  

Pregnant women are also extremely vulnerable to vector- and water-borne diseases linked to floods (which may increase the breeding of mosquitos and other pests ), which are intensified by climate change. In many cases, droughts also tend to affect women’s and girls’ health and nutritional status because of these groups’ pre-existing nutritional deficits. (….)

Women as climate change actors

  • Women play significant roles in adaptation and mitigation efforts.
  • In many countries such as India and Nepal, women’s self-help networks and risk management committees help to address climate risk and support adaptation measures around livelihoods, water and sanitation, and health and education.
  • Women are managers of land, forestry and biodiversity. For example, many indigenous women in Africa and Asia are stewards of natural resources.
  • Many have knowledge of the wild ancestors from which current plants were derived – information that can help in developing adaptive response measures, in enhancing resilience in food crop sustainability and in medicinal plants, and in maintaining ecosystems.
  • Women in communities often practice conservation of mangrove and other drought-resistant crops, which are important for adaptation to floods and famines and for mitigation, including in relation to deforestation and carbon dioxide emissions.
  • Women also maintain interests in water management and distribution as well as in the development of clean and efficient energy technologies for both household and market production activities.

Read more: Full text as pdf

Mariama Williams: Background Speaking Notes for the Feminist Climate Conference, 22 November 2019, Vienna
organized by Grüne Frauen Wien, Grüne Bildungswerkstatt Wien, WIDE and FIAN


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