Women and climate change

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2020 National Women's Conference
23 October 2019

Climate change has a greater impact on those sections of the population, in all countries, that are most reliant on natural resources for their livelihoods and/or who have the least capacity to respond to natural hazards, such as droughts, landslides, floods and hurricanes. Women commonly face higher risks and greater burdens from the impacts of climate change in situations of poverty, and the majority of the world�s poor are women. Women�s unequal participation in decision-making processes and labour markets compound inequalities and often prevent women from fully contributing to climate-related planning, policy-making and implementation.Parties to the UN have recognised that climate change is intrinsically linked to gender, because women and girls are particularly vulnerable to the effects of the climate catastrophe.Gender inequality means women tend to be more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. For the poorest women, dangerous weather events, droughts and failed harvests can become disasters.Women and girls are more vulnerable to the effects of climate change because women: 1)Constitute the majority of the world�s poor, who are overall more affected. 2)Are less likely to be in positions of power and/or decision-making roles3)Are more likely to be dependent for their food and income on the land, and natural resources, which are being threatened. When the worst effects of climate change make land-based work impossible, women are often less able than men to turn to alternative forms of work. Nine in 10 countries worldwide have laws impeding women�s economic opportunities.4)Are more likely to be responsible within their families for securing water, food and fuel for cooking and heating, which are all being threatened. It is often women and girls, for example, who are forced to walk great distances to find water when local sources dry up. 5)Tend to be more exposed to the negative impacts of disasters, including death and injury. These disasters are becoming more frequent and more severe due to climate change.6)Face a heightened risk of gender-based violence during and following disasters, and when forced to leave their homes due to climate change, become more vulnerable.In many contexts, climate-related disasters like floods or drought lead to household income issues which often leads to girls being taken out of school. Girls are then likely to be required to manage or assist with domestic work, which exposes them to further risk and increases inequality.In summary, climate change affects women and girls most acutely because it exacerbates the existing outcomes of entrenched gender inequality. We ask the national women�s committee to:a)Work with the NEC to highlight within our climate change communications the disproportionate affect on women, particularly working class women. b)Work with LAOS to ensure that any training on climate change highlights the disproportionate affect on women, particularly working class women.