Bearing the Burden: The Impact of Climate Change on Women and Men Is Not the Same. Women Are Increasingly More Vulnerable, Mainly Because They Represent the Majority of the World's Poor and Are Proportionally More Dependent on Threatened Natural Resources

UN Chronicle, September 2009 | Go to article overview

Bearing the Burden: The Impact of Climate Change on Women and Men Is Not the Same. Women Are Increasingly More Vulnerable, Mainly Because They Represent the Majority of the World's Poor and Are Proportionally More Dependent on Threatened Natural Resources


HUMAN SECURITY, CLIMATE CHANGE AND WOMEN

BY IRENE DANKELMAN, Professor, Centre for Sustainable Management of Resources, Radboud University, Netherlands.

HUMAN         SECURITY        CLIMATE CHANGE      IMPACT ON WOMEN
SECURITY      ASPECTS

Security of  Mortality/     * Mortality/         * Overall more
Survival     injury           injury from          women than men die
                              different extreme    or are injured
                              weather events/
                              disasters

             Health         * Increase in        * Bearing the
                              infectious           burden of taking
                              diseases             care of the sick/
                                                   disabled

                            * Physical and       * Increase in
                              mental stress        mental stress

                            * Loss of            * Lack of access to
                              medicinal plants/    reproductive health
                              biodiversity         services

                                                 * Greater risk of
                                                   HIV/AIDS due to
                                                   early marriage,
                                                   forced
                                                   prostitution,
                                                   sexual violence

Security of  Food Security  * Harvests           * Bearing the
livelihood                    destroyed            burden of more
                                                   time, energy and
                                                   budget requirements
                                                   for food production
                                                   and purchase

                            * Agricultural       * Stand in line for
                              production           humanitarian food
                              changes/ drops       distribution

                            * Fish stocks        * Increase in work
                              decrease             burden

                                                 * Increase in
                                                   calorie-deficiency
                                                   and hunger

             Water          * Lack of water      * More time/energy
             Security                              needed to provide
                                                   water for
                                                   household/farm

                            * Pollution and      * Suffer from
                              water salination     water-related
                                                   health problems

                            * Flooding

                            * Lack of biomass    * More time and
                              fuel                 energy needed to
                                                   collect fuel

             Energy         * Dysfunctioning     * Increase in work
             Security         hydropower           burden

                            * Disruption in      * Inferior energy
                              electricity          sources--more
                              supply               indoor pollution

             Environmental  * Environmental      * Poorest women
             security         processes and        living in insecure
                              services             environments most
                              jeopardized          affected

             Shelter        * Housing,           * Limited land
             security         infrastructure       rights
                              and services
                              destroyed

                                                 * Not included in
                                                   land management

                                                 * Decrease in
                                                   mobility

             Economic       * Decrease in        * Women in informal
             security         income generating    sector most
                              opportunities        effected
                              (eg, less
                              credit)

                                                 * Household
                                                   expenses increase

                                                 * Males
                                                   migrate--more
                                                   female-headed
                                                   households

Dignity      Basic human    * Triggers           * Increase in
             rights           violation of         domestic violence
                              basic human          against women;
                              rights               suffering from
                                                   wars/conflicts over
                                                   resources

             Capacity       * Lack of            * Girls drop out of
                              opportunities for    school
                              education and
                              income
                              generation

                                                 * Little time for
                                                   education/
                                                   training/income
                                                   generation

             Participation  * None or limited    * Lack of
                              involvement in       participation in
                              decision-making;     climate change
                              lack of              negotiations,
                              information; lack    planning and
                              of time              activities

                                                 * Women-specific
                                                   priorities
                                                   neglected

 HUMAN       SECURITY          COPING AND                POLICY
SECURITY     ASPECTS            ADAPTIVE             OPPORTUNITIES FOR
                              STRATEGIES BY             WOMEN/MEN
                                 WOMEN

Security of  Mortality/     * Searching for       * Gender specific
Survival     injury           safe shelter/         and sensitive
                              improving homes       disaster risk
                                                    reduction and
                                                    preparedness

                            * Disaster risk       * Early warning
                              reduction and         systems
                              preparedness by
                              women's groups

             Health         * Increase in         * Access to
                              tasks for family      health
                              care                  facilities,
                                                    especially
                                                    reproductive
                                                    health services
                                                    for women

                            * Use of medicinal    * Monitoring
                              plants and            health situation
                              application of        of most
                              alternative           vulnerable
                              healing methods       groups

Security of  Food Security  * Adapting            * Agricultural
livelihood                    agricultural          adaptation: mixed
                              practices/            cropping, better
                              switching to other    suited crops/
                              crops/animals         livestock

                            * Saving food,        * Affordable and
                              seed and animals      ecologically
                                                    sound
                                                    Agricultural
                                                    inputs

                            * Adapting to new     * Nutritioning
                              diet                  extension

                                                  * Secure land
                                                    rights for women

                                                  * Credit and
                                                    marketing
                                                    facilities

                                                  * Managing fish
                                                    stocks for local
                                                    fishing
                                                    communities

             Water          * Water havesting,    * Safeguarding
             Security         including             affordable and
                              rainwater             safe drinking
                                                    water

                            * Purchasing water    * Efficient
                              from                  irrigation
                              water-vendors         technologies

                                                  * Safe sanitation
                                                    facilities

                                                  * Preserving
                                                    wetlands

                            * Switching to        * Providing fuel
                              other energy          sources,
                                                    especially clean
                                                    sustainable
                                                    energy

             Energy         * Use of              * Providing and
             Security         energy-saving         training in using
                              devices               energy saving
                                                    devices

                            * Reforestation       * Ecological
                                                    restoration

             Environmental  * Building more       * Safe shelters
             security         sturdy houses

                            * Clean up and
                              regeneration of
                              environment

                            * Forming advocacy
                              groups

             Shelter        * Building more       * Safe shelters
             security         sturdy houses         and sturdy homes

                            * Seeking             * Land and
                              shelter/migration     housing rights
                                                    for women

             Economic       * Saving expenses     * Affordable and
             security         or money for lean     reliable credit
                              time                  and financial
                                                    facilities for
                                                    women

                            * Selling of          * Providing
                              assets and            alternative
                              services              livelihood
                                                    options

                            * Alternative         * Ensuring
                              income generating     women's access to
                              activities            climate change
                                                    funding and
                                                    technologies

Dignity      Basic human    * Social networks     * Counselling and
             rights           and groups            legal services

                                                  * Defending
                                                    women's rights

             Capacity       * Self-training,      * Ensuring
                              support groups and    education,
                              networks              particularly of
                                                    girls
                                                    during/after
                                                    disasters

                                                  * Skills
                                                    training

                                                  * Environmental
                                                    regeneration

             Participation  * Organization        * Access to
                                                    information

                            * Advocacy            * Ensuring
                                                    women's
                                                    participation in
                                                    planning/
                                                    decision-making/
                                                    climate change
                                                    and mechanisms

                            * Participation       * Involving men
                                                    in gender
                                                    training

                                                  * Generate and
                                                    use sex
                                                    disaggregated
                                                    data

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Bearing the Burden: The Impact of Climate Change on Women and Men Is Not the Same. Women Are Increasingly More Vulnerable, Mainly Because They Represent the Majority of the World's Poor and Are Proportionally More Dependent on Threatened Natural Resources
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