Women Turn Up Gender-Equity Heat at Climate Talks

Article excerpt

Women's perspectives must be included in international negotiations over climate change, according to delegates at a round-table meeting in September. Sixty government, United Nations and civil society representatives met with the aim of influencing discussions during climate change talks at the UN.

"Climate change will increase existing inequalities," said Irene Dankelman, vice-chair of the Women's Environment and Development Organization. "Not only are women adversely impacted by climate change, they also contribute differently from men to its causes and its solutions."

The group highlighted women's disproportionate vulnerability to the types of natural disasters that climate change is expected to cause as well as women's often overlooked capacity to join mitigation efforts.

In Indonesian villages worst hit by the 2004 tsunami, up to 80 percent of the victims were female, according to Oxfam International. And during the 2003 heat wave in Europe women accounted for 70 percent of the deaths in France, which totalled almost 15,000, according to the French government.

"During emergencies, women are less likely to have access to information about assistance than men," said Lorena Aguilar, a senior gender advisor for the World Conservation Union, based in Gland, Switzerland. …