The Impact of Climate Change on Women & Feminism as the Solution
All around the world women are kept from opportunities purely based on their gender, regardless if intentionally or due to ingrained gender inequality in our society, women and girls around the world have it harder to earn as much as their male counterparts, progress equally in their careers, access the same level of healthcare and in general experience unequal treatment in every corner of our society.
Not only women experience inequality when striving for better careers, income and welfare in general, but they also are the ones hit the hardest under the climate crisis and its impacts. We are going to see how and why feminism is key to not only ending with inequalities but also tackling climate change.
How does climate change impact women?
In many parts of the world, women are more dependent on natural resources than male. They are responsible for bringing into the household food, fresh water, fuel, medicine and other resources essential for living, yet they have the least access to these natural resources.
Climate change and its social, economic, environmental and economic impact hit hardest on women, that in low-middle income countries mainly work in agriculture and are dependent on the output from the work to meet their most basic needs. When climate disasters occur, like we are seeing at the moment with extreme heatwaves, droughts, extreme flooding and rains, women are the ones most affected and less likely to survive these extreme events.
Less access to education, healthcare, services increases the risk of girls and women bearing higher consequences from global warming and in most cases with little to no resources to recover from climate disasters.
If we add to increased food insecurity and lower access to resources, the fact that women have in many places in this world less political power and representation in political and decision-making roles, often we see contingency policies and relief programmes not directed towards the share of population most affected, with a vast misallocation of resources that do not end up in women's hands, leading to a domino effect, in which they attend even less education, healthcare and other services.
As we see from the narrative and the continuously growing scientific evidence, we need to tackle gender inequality and address the situation that women are at in different parts of the world, if we are to ensure equal level of protection and safety for women around the planet suffering the effects from climate change.
Intersectional Feminism and Climate Change, the impact not talked about.
We have seen how climate change impacts more severely women but it is not often talked how it affects different groups of women around the globe. If we look at the impact of climate change on women from the perspective of intersectional feminism, we quickly realise that LGBTIQ+, women of older age, women from african origins and indigenous people, women with disabilities or women in conflict-areas are often hit the hardest by climate change.
Women in rich countries experience inequalities in their every day life, but often we have access to different resources and channels to shed light into these inequalities, rise our voices to push for change and come together to ensure progress in our societies.
This is not the case for women in under-represented or minority groups, that already are under-represented in politics, decision-making roles, and often invisible to the media and the eyes of the world. It is not surprise then, that when it is time to design human development programmes, climate change contingency plans and climate programmes they are left out of the equation making even wider the inequality gap and pushing even deeper the impact of climate change for women in these groups.
Why we need women in power, now more than ever
Now more than ever, as we go through one of the biggest challenges humanity as ever seen, we need to find solutions that not only tackle the problem at hand, but that do so while pushing everyone in society all around the globe towards higher wellbeing, equal treatment and rights and better lives.
Various studies, show that those nations with larger representation of women in politics implement more ambitious climate programmes and laws than those with a lower share of women in power.
To show the importance of women to tackle climate change, in 2011 the role of Chief Sustainability Officer (COS) was fulfilled 28% by women, while only 10 years later that figure rising to 54%. This shows the drive and ambition of women to take on roles that contribute towards increased welfare for communities while reducing the environmental impact of human and business activity.
If we want bring equality to our society, end with poverty and food insecurity, give equal access to men and women to the healthcare and education system around the world, erase injustices around the globe and in general fast-track our species towards lower environmental impact and better living standards for all we need to not only acknowledge the hardship that women face today, but also put women in power to bring the solutions that we so desperately need.
Wherever you are, whoever you are and whenever you can speak for women and demand to see more women in decision-making roles, from your place of work to the your government. Our generation has the opportunity to change our world for the better, and to do that we need the power of intersectional feminism. Leave us your thoughts or start a conversation through weterrazero.