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Why Are Women Especially Vulnerable To Climate Change?

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“UN Women. The most vulnerable people are most at risk from climate change, including many poor women.”

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I will start by admitting that the headline of this post is somewhat misleading, stating that women are especially vulnerable to climate change. The truth is that we ALL are vulnerable to climate change, regardless of gender. However, as stated by UN Women, an organization dedicated especially for women worldwide, especially vulnerable people in this world are in fact most at risk from climate change, and many of the world´s most vulnerable people are women. Majority of the world´s poorest people are women: at least 70 % of ALL poor people worldwide are female.

Why is that? The main reason for extreme poverty among women worldwide is the amount of unpaid work women do. Not all girls and women worldwide have access to e.g. even primary or secondary education, since poor families often prefer sending their boys to school, while girls have no other option than to stay at home and carry out unpaid work. Moreover, many young girls in poor families worldwide are being married off as child brides, often to men who are relevantly much older than themselves. Due to a lack of gender equality and a respect for girls and women being equally worthy in a specific culture/society, girls and women also risk becoming targets of sexual exploitation e.g. through human trafficking, which is a significant global problem.

These inequality issues and gender discrimination in different cultures are also being transferred into how girls and women suffer from climate change: According to UN Women, e.g. Pacific Women have limited economic opportunities, making them especially vulnerable in all areas of life, including climate change. (UN Women: Why Is Climate Change A Gender Issue?).

Launched by UN Women in December 2016, the report Gender Dimensions of Vulnerability to Climate Change in China, summarizes that women in China, having limited access to resources as opposed to men, are more at risk to the severe impacts of climate change. The lack of resources, according to the research, include the capacity of building resilience (income, land, loans, employment opportunities, and training).

Watch United Nations video “Philippines: Women and Climate Change”:

 

Connect with me on Twitter @annemariayritys – for climate-related posts only @GCCThinkActTank & subscribe to my newsletter at Leading With Passion

 

 

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