During a public health crisis centered around a respiratory disease, the last thing we need is more pollution that worsens respiratory problems and deepens already disproportionately higher risks of COVID-19 for Black, Brown, Indigenous, and low-income communities. While getting real about the root issues is urgently important, millions of Californians are being forced to deal with the immediate task of safety and survival. Greenpeace created a California Wildfire Crisis Emergency Response Guide to help communities stay safe and healthy during these uncertain times. Photo Credit: David McNew / Greenpeace
During the World Skull Forum, an intergenerational and intercultural panel of women climate activists hosted a webinar on the lessons we can learn during the COVID-19 crisis in order to pave the way for a green recovery and a just transition. Notwithstanding its drastic negative impacts, the current pandemic has also proven the capability of the global community for changing behaviour quickly and profoundly in the face of a serious crisis. Therefore, the panelists urged for the climate crisis to be taken just as seriously, underlining the importance of science and traditional knowledge, human behaviour and collaboration. Photo Credit: Skoll Foundation & Rockefeller Foundation
The United Nations (UN) is conducting a pilot project in Al Rahad, Sudan as part of the Joint Programme for Women Natural Resources, Climate, and Peace. The community in Al Rahad has been arduously facing climate change induced environmental degradation, such as severe droughts, that has given rise to natural resource conflicts. The Programme aims at tackling those issues through three main initiatives. Firstly, strengthening the role of women in local governance and decision making. Secondly, promoting the integration of women in the resolution of natural resource conflicts. Lastly, addressing women’s economic empowerment by ensuring climate resilient livelihoods. The UN led programme has had notable success. Since its introduction, the perception among the Al Rahad community of the importance of the role of women in decision-making has doubled, and women are significantly more involved in conflict resolution processes. Furthermore, nearly 90% of the women participants experienced an increase in their income.
New research is finding that gender discrimination across Europe, Asia Pacific, Africa, and Americas, is being felt by at least half of the women farmers in agriculture. The survey involved 4000 women working in seventeen high-, medium-, and low-income countries in a range of roles and types of farming businesses. It aimed to understand the experience of women farmers today, their lives and their concerns, in order to establish a foundation from which to evaluate future growth. In order to break down the discrimination obstacles for women in agriculture, the results of the survey pointed to training female farmers to use new technologies, dismantling financial obstacles, improving academic education (in contrary to narrowly focussed training), and raising public awareness of the key role women play in agriculture, specifically as key actors in their communities and families in providing food and nutrition. Photo credit: Corteva Agriscience
A recent study, the first to focus on the effects of short-term exposure to pollution by women in urban areas, has found that air pollution is just as bad as smoking for pregnant women when it comes to increasing their risk of miscarriage. The findings of the study mention that air pollution is already known to harm foetuses by increasing the risk of premature birth and low birth weight. But this recent research found pollution particles in placentas. Rising levels of nitrogen dioxide emissions around the world has increased the risk of losing a pregnancy by 16%. Researchers compare it to how the increased risk of tobacco smoke in a woman’s first trimester can result in pregnancy loss. They recommend the best course of action is to cut the overall levels of pollution in urban areas. While they also recommend pregnant women to avoid exertion on polluted days and consider buying indoor filters, they recognize that in the developing countries, these are luxuries many can’t afford. Photo credit: Rex/Shutterstock
Despite once providing bustling profits for fishing families, Lake Malawi — one of Africa’s largest lakes — suffers from overfishing and women in Malawi are feeling the brunt of this. The fishing industry employs close to 300,000 Malawi workers and fishers, but fish are no longer being found in abundance. Stiff competition from fishermen is drastically depleting fish levels. The fish that are now being found are smaller and priced higher, reducing the profitability of a market that used to flourish in the past. Women who used to buy fish cheaply and trade it for more, are then forced to buy from fishermen, who have also been pushed out of business, at increased prices. Moreover, they are no longer able to provide local fish as a cheap protein to their families because overfishing has left women under tight restraint. Thankfully successful community efforts have been rallied around creating bylaws that would close down the lake for a temporary amount of time to promote lake health. And it appears these laws put in place were working — a man was hit with a hefty fine for fishing on the lake when it was close. Photo credit: Mabvuto Banda
Across the world, most notably in developing Asian countries and sub-Saharan Africa, roughly 1.2 billion people do not have access to reliable energy. A lack of energy sources is directly related to global poverty, and it has been estimated that 70 percent of the world’s poorest are female. Because women, particularly in Asia and Africa, are tasked with feeding and caring for their families, experts maintain that energy access and poverty must be examined through a gendered lens. Indeed, when energy sources are not readily available, women are often tasked with either walking miles to find wood or purchasing cheap kerosene lamps despite their documented health and safety risks. The links become clearer still once energy and health care are considered. Across the world, an estimated 800 women die every day from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. Ninety-nine percent of these deaths occur in developing countries, and a lack of energy access only exacerbates the problem. Several entrepreneurial groups led by women, such as Solar Sisters, have been bringing light and empowerment to some of Tanzania’s most rural villages and becoming community leaders in the process. Photo credit: Various Pressures & Simon Black
Senegalese women are bearing the consequences of climate change as the fish stocks of Saint-Louis, a central fishing hub, are vanishing due to climbing ocean temperatures and rising sea levels. In 2017 alone, fish stocks fell by 82%. Today, the price of fish has become five times more expensive than in previous years. Such impacts are devastating, not only for the women who heavily depend on selling fresh and processed fish in markets as a main source of income, but also to the rest of the Senegalese population as up to 17% are experiencing issues of food insecurity according to the World Food Program. As a result, women’s practice of processing fish has become increasingly important as an additional resource of subsistence - especially the landlocked populations. In response, women’s associations are collectively gathering funds to accommodate the skyrocketing price of fish. Projects such as the Collaborative Management for a Sustainable Fisheries Future (COMFISH), offers workshops to women fish processors throughout Senegal providing them with resources to increase their profits, literacy courses, and alternative modes of creating revenue. Nevertheless, Senegalese women continue to challenge the status quo by urging for government subsidization of fish prices and more support from non-government organizations. Photo credit: Georges Gobet/Getty Images
The International Center for Agriculture Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA), CSIRO and Murdoch University, organized a week-long workshop for small-scale crop and livestock production farmers from the water-scarce regions of Afghanistan, in Amman, Jordan. The workshop focused on training female farmers in plant propagation, forage seed production, nursery management, and enterprise development. The participants included gender knowledge facilitators, women farmers, members of cooperatives, women savings groups from Baghlan province of Afghanistan, and members from Agha Khan Foundation. The participants visited a nursery run by Jordanian women which encouraged them to go back, promote and share the technical knowledge they received during the workshop to their fellow Afghan farmers and are planning on establishing their own nursery run completely by women. The participants were keen on developing equal opportunities for women especially in the forage value chains, which is largely dominated by male farmers. Photo Credit: Mounir Louhaichi
Lim Li Ching’s new report on agroecology highlights the crucial role small women farmers play in preserving indigenous varieties or landraces of main food crops. However, their role expands beyond the preservation of indigenous seeds, and women also process, distribute, and market food, as well as act as key holders of knowledge around seeds, agricultural biodiversity, and agroecology technologies. Parul Begum knew that indigenous strains of rice would result in higher yields in West Bengal and Manisha in Haryana’s Nidana village in Jind used carnivorous pests, as opposed to a chemical alternative, to handle the crop destruction caused by harmful pests. These women play a significant role in smallholder systems which also provide over half of the planet’s food calories. Despite their valuable role, women face issues in legal ownership of land and access to resources such as land, seeds, or technologies, due to the gender bias that exists in agriculture. Lim Li Ching argues that empowering women, especially with regards to land ownership which consequently opens access to government schemes and resources, can lead to improved food security and health. Photo credit: Vikas Choudhary
Faith Gemmill sees the effects of climate chaos firsthand, and has the solutions: she is executive director of Resisting Environmental Destruction on Indigenous Lands (REDOIL), a grassroots Indigenous environmental network fighting to protect Indigenous land and culture in Alaska. Gemmill, Pit River/Wintu and Neets’aiiGwish’in Athabascan, lives a land-based, subsistence lifestyle in an Alaskan village next to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, 110 miles above the Arctic circle. Her community’s livelihood depends on the Porcupine Caribou Herd -- but oil companies directly target this sacred birthplace and nursery, and rising temperatures have already caused many climate refugees to relocate. REDOIL provides knowledge and resources to build resilience in this vulnerable region. Because Gemmill’s community lives in intimate interdependence with the “biological heart” of the Arctic Refuge, they have been fighting for human rights for decades, with no sign of stopping. Photo Credit: MrsGreensWorld
Most of the Guatemalan population financially depends on farming. Facing destructive landslides, strong winds and volcanic peaks, the women of Guatemala came forward to find the coping strategies for water and forest conservation. Eulia de Leon Juarez, founder of a women’s rights group in Guatemala’s western highlands, says that climate change has changed the pattern of seasons. To address these micro problems at a macro level, women’s non-profit organizations like Global Alliance for Green and Gender Action (GAGGA) are working rigorously to develop women’s leadership. Climate change has amplified the inevitable process of migration, increasing the number of female-headed households in rural areas as more men move to cities. Solange Bandiaky-Badji, Africa program director for Rights and Resources Initiative, sees this as an opportunity for more women to take greater responsibility in their communities. Therefore, women should be seen as active participant preventing and coping with climate change and not merely as victim of it. Photo Credit: Sara Schonhardt
Alwar, a semi-arid region in between the Capital of India and Capital of Rajasthan, is facing a severe water crisis especially in the villages of Ramgarh and Bheror blocks. Raziya Begum, a woman farmer of Ramgarh Block, is telling researchers about the kind of discrimination women face, and how climate change is further adding to gender disparity in rural areas. Similarly, Shima ji of the same block pointed to the extra burden on women due to their household and agricultural labor. More women work in agriculture, yet many lack the knowledge of farming techniques that are resistant to climate change. Additionally, women work longer hours than men, sometimes waking up at 3 am to wait for their turn to gather water from a well. Low rainfall and the depletion of groundwater for agriculture has made water a scarce resource, adding to the stressors already placed on women. Cultural norms legitimize this gender inequality in India, putting women on the receiving end of violence and negative impact of climate change. Photo Credit: Koushik Hore
Migration is one way women may be forced to adapt to climate change, but this displacement also puts women at greater risk for violence, a group of women leaders explained at a Wilson Center event. Eleanor Bornstorm, Program Director for the Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO), noted that because women are often in caretaking roles, they are also expected to volunteer and shield their communities from harm. Yet structural inequalities put women disproportionately at risk to violence during climate displacement. Carrying forward the former statement, Justine Calma, Grist environmental justice reporting fellow, vocalized the violence faced by women and young girls during climate displacement. For example, during the 2013 Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, young girls were sexually exploited, sold and trafficked for food and other resources. Poor or uneducated women, women of color and migrant women are vulnerable to intersectional forms of discrimination, and their needs are often more urgent. Because of these structural inequalities, empowering women and enhancing their leadership may be the best strategy to address climate change, rather than mitigating its effects. WEDO is assessing factors impacting women during climate displacement, filling in the gaps unaddressed at the national and international level. Photo Credit: Agata Grzybowska.
Even after 20 years of “UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders”, women human rights defenders (HRD) face systematic structural violence for raising awareness of political and environmental issues affecting their daily lives. To highlight the stories of these women, the Canadian Embassy in Bangkok launched a project “Her Life, Her Diary: Side by Side WHRDs 2018 - Diary of Hope and Dreams" featuring 20 women defenders and their everyday struggle against social injustice. Photo Credit: Luke Duggleby
This article demonstrates the overarching ways women are more affected by climate change than men. For example, after Hurricane Katrina black women were the most affected by flooding in Louisiana. Women are reliant on interdependent community networks for their everyday survival and resources. Displacement erodes these networks and increases the changes of violence and sexual assault against women. According to UN Data, 80 percent of people displaced due to climate change are women. Despite this women are seldom at the decision making table, says Diana Liverman, an environmental scientist at the University of Arizona. As an author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) she is internally paving the way for women to participate in major decisions. Photo Credit: Getty Images
Nicaragua, the largest country in Central America is considered one of the most at risk countries by World Risk Report 2016. Natural disasters and poor socio-economic conditions increase the vulnerability of Nicaragua citizens. To analyze the gender dimension of such vulnerability, Lisa Segnestam, researcher from Stockholm Environmental Institute wrote a paper that explores the socio-economic and environmental factors contributing to gender inequality. Her research findings unveiled that lack of control and poor access resources has increased the gender gap which further impacts the ways Nicaraguans respond to climate change. Photo Credit: Lisa Segnestam.
Decades after a paper mill in Northern Ontario dumped 10 ton of mercury into an Ontario river, residents of Grassy Narrows First Nation and Wabaseemoong (Whitedog) First Nation are only beginning to get answers. From 1970 to 1992, Health Canada collected umbilical blood and hair samples from the communities that were potentially exposed to the harmful substance. The results, however, have remained closed in boxes until only recently. Now, residents such as Chrissy Swain and Alana Pahpasy are finally getting the results, only to find out that they’ve been living with dangerously high mercury levels for years. Despite the fact that a Mercury Disability Board was set up, it has been criticized as inadequate and has turned the majority of applicants away. It is suspected that the high levels are now impacting the next generation of these communities. The health impacts of mercury poisoning include heart problems, learning disabilities, and motor skills deficits. Women and other members of the community are speaking out against the government, outraged at this wrongful neglect. Photo credit: David Sone/Earthroots
Puerto Rico is in need of disaster relief that adequately addresses the disproportional impacts Hurricane Irma and Maria have had on Puerto Rican women. Women across the world are already more likely to experience higher rates of sexual violence, familial responsibilities, and restricted access to reproductive healthcare in the aftermath of climate disasters. Puerto Rican women in particular are at very high risk for intimate partner violence in the world without stressors such as natural emergencies. Given these statistics and the causal relationship between poverty and violence toward women, upcoming policies such as the new year budget must support women appropriately. Photo Credit: Mario Tama
Women seaweed farms on Zanzibar’s coast are at the frontlines of climate change, as warming sea temperatures are causing massive die offs, and rural women are losing their main source of income. While most other jobs in this community are male dominated, seaweed farming is predominately female, with more than 80 percent of seaweed farmers being women. With the production of the major seaweed species Cottonnii down by nearly 94%, the financial independence and social status seaweed farming has provided women has been threatened. To defy these odds, Dr. Flower Msuya has, with the help of local women farmers, pioneered a new technology to adapt the shallow farming technique to deeper waters. Photo credit: Haley Joelle Ott
Representatives of the Secwepemc Nation composed and delivered a Historic 'Women’s Declaration Against Kinder Morgan Man Camps' to the CEO of Kinder Morgan in Vancouver, Canada in Winter of 2017. The Declaration, which had been signed by over 2,800 international organizations and individuals, attests that the Secwepemc people never have and never will give their free, prior and informed consent to oil extraction in their territories, and specifically to the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline Project and the Kinder Morgan Man Camps. Speaking out as Indigenous women, the Declaration authors describe how women have borne the brunt of the impacts of colonial resource extraction. They speak to the horrors of the epidemic of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) - and how this intensifying attack has risen in connection with growth of oil extraction economies in Indigenous territories. In response, they present the movement for land protection being led by the women of the Tiny House Warriors. Photo credit: Secwepemcul’ecw Assembly/Linda Roy of Irevaphotography
Olanike Olubunmi Olugboji empowers other women in Nigeria to build sustainable, safe and equitable alternatives to dangerous ways of life. She is the founder and director of the Women Initiative for Sustainable Environment (WISE), formerly known as Environmental Management and Protection Network (EMPRONET), based in Kaduna, Nigeria. Holding degrees in urban and regional planning, Olugboji urges more women to be involved in the development and management of natural resources. WISE trains and educates women to be proactive against the mounting challenges posed by climate change and deforestation. For example, the Women’s Clean Cookstove Training and Entrepreneurship Program educates women about the health risks of woodstoves and gives them alternatives that are not only environmentally sustainable but financially viable as well. Nearly 10,000 women have participated in WISE programs already, and Olugboji hopes to open up a Women’s Eco Learning and Resource Center to reach even more women. Photo Credit: Stephen Obodomechine
According to a new research, Nigerian babies are two times more likely to die in their first months of life if their mothers were living next to an oil spill before conceiving. In addition, the neonatal mortality is higher the nearer the mother was located to the oil spill. The study is framed in the context of conditions in country where an estimated 240,000 barrels of crude oil are spilled every year. Photo-credit: George Osodi/AP
Climate change isn’t only increasing the greenhouse effect, it is also creating an increase in the inequity of global power dynamics. With women representing 70% of the global poor, women are impacted first and worse by these changes. This overview article shares more information on this statistic, and five other examples which highlight why women are disproportionately impacted by climate, and why climate action must be pursued as a central goal of feminist organizing. Photo credit: Novara Media
Women scientists are finding that climate change will likely pose significant threats to pregnant women and their embyros, a group often left out of public health concerns. Rupa Basu, chief of air and climate epidemiology at the California Environmental Protection Agency, had been researching the connection between health risks and air pollution for the past decade, and looked more into the effects of temperature. Her research found that increasing heat and humidity raise the likelihood of premature and stillbirths every year. Similar conclusions were found by Nathalie Auger at Quebec’s institute for public health, as well as by Pauline Mendola and Sandie Ha at Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Mendola and Ha’s study found that a temperature increase in the top 10 percent range of a woman’s region could mean 1,000 more stillbirths every year, much higher than the researchers expected. Pregnant women are not often considered a group vulnerable to heat, according to Sabrina McCormick, a sociologist at George Washington University, which makes these findings an urgent call to reframe public health. While these and other researchers are eager to collect more data, it’s clear that pregnancy calls for more precautions and awareness amid climate change. Photo Credit: BLEND IMAGES / PEATHEGEE INC / GETTY
Globally, women and girls are disproportionately impacted by poor access to safe clean water and adequate sanitary conditions. They are often responsible for collecting water for their household daily and at far distances, which significantly limits their productivity and time for schooling. Even when they do have time to attend school or work, a lack of private washrooms and clean water make it difficult to maintain hygiene during menstruation, meaning they instead stay home or drop out. Women and girls are also at increased risk of violence during their long travels for water and when using open toilets. Because they are likely tasked with cleaning children and household toilets, they are more exposed to wastewater and potential pathogens. Because of this intersection with gender, women and girls must lead and be engaged in strategies for improving water and sanitation. Photo credit: Asian Development Bank
Women are more vulnerable to climate change but are less represented at the U.N. Climate Negotiations. The establishment of the Women and Gender Constituency (WGC) at the Climate Negotiations has formalized the voice of women and gender equality. At COP23, in Bonn, Germany, the WGC pushed for a new gender action plan, to help increase female participation at the U.N, increase funding for women, and ensure climate solutions uphold the rights of women and indigenous peoples. Photo Credit: Patrik Stollarz / Getty Images
Researchers at the Université of Montréal have found muconic acid levels in urine samples of women within close proximity of fracking sites in Northeastern British Columbia, Canada to be 3.5 times higher than amounts found in the general population. Benzene, which has been associated with reduced birth weight and increased risk of childhood leukemia and birth defects, is a contaminant that is often emitted while extracting waste gas from oil and gas sites. Nearly half of the participants tested were Indigenous, and the study concluded that muconic acid levels found in these women were 2.3 times higher than in the non-Indigenous participants and six times higher than levels found in the general population. While more research is needed to determine the source of the benzene, results are consistent with other studies on the impacts of fracking on women. Photo credit: Ecoflight
Women leaders of Uthema and Voice of Women speak out about plans to build an airport on Kulhudhuhfushi island in the northern region of the Maldives, which is made of over 1200 natural coral islands. The vital mangrove wetlands of Kulhudhuhfushi are some of the countries most important and biodiverse, and the airport development there threatens massive destruction of ecosystems which are the source of local economy, culture, traditions, food, environmental protection, and much more. The article and accompanying video note a particular impact on women who work work the wetlands for their livelihoods, and the inequities of an airport for just some people displacing a place of local support for countless. Photo credit: SixDegrees News
According to several case studies, more women die in environmental disasters than men, due to the fact that they often face gendered challenges during natural disasters and emergencies. For instance, women may face domestic violence due to lack of safe spaces in relief centers. In developing countries, women are often the ones responsible for providing water for their families, a task that becomes strained during disasters. This article also examines how women’s voices are absent in modern patriarchal disaster-response societies, and the need for gender-sensitive data collection and women’s inclusion in leadership and decision-making regarding disaster management.
Constance Okollet is among the first women of Uganda taking bold action to fight climate change impact, through the formation of the Osukuru United Women Network. Over time, the network has evolved into an education platform about climate change, mitigation and adaptation strategies. Irene Barbara Amayo, another powerful woman, is the chairperson of a group in the Network which has taken action including creating a sustainable poultry operation and a small tree nursery. Even though the Network faces multiple infrastructural challenges which constitute barriers and challenges, the women involved in the project continue to be optimistic and stand for their beliefs. This article highlights that even though these women are not the ones responsible for climate change and massive global pollution, they are nonetheless rising as heroes to build solutions. Photo credit: Edward Echwalu
As part of ‘The Story We Want’ video series, which follows the efforts of women across the United States who are coming together to confront fossil fuel industries and a culture of extraction, the Climate Listening Project and Mom’s Clean Air Force speak with women from Porter Ranch, California who were affected by the Alison Canyon methane blow out. The blow out released more than 100,000 tons of toxic methane gas over four months. Two mothers recount the health impacts felt by their families, and the local organizing efforts that have emerged to counter the danger in their community. Photo credit: Moms Clean Air Force
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) reports on pushing for gendered considerations in hazardous chemicals and waste management, through the Gender Action Plan of the Stockholm Basel and Rotterdam International Conventions. The report includes thoughts from Stella Mojekwu, Chief Environmental Scientist at the Federal Ministry of Environment in Nigeria on the dangers posed to women exposed to oil-based, toxic PCB through cooking and handeling of cosmetics and chemical products. Resources are included to learn more about international and United Nations policy efforts and conventions to address this issue through improvement of gender mainstreaming mechanisms. Photo credit: WECF
Mercury, a neurotoxin which poses dire life-long risks to developing fetuses and children, has been detected at dangerous and abnormal levels in the blood of women in over 25 countries worldwide. Excessive mercury levels are tied in large part to emissions from coal plants and leaching from mining operations, such as gold-mining. Most dire levels are found in the bodies of women from island nations, including Indonesia, due in large part to direct and daily reliance on eating contaminated fish. Photo credit: Edgard Garrido/Reuters
In this article, Dr. Heidi Hartmann and Geanine Wester center the lived experiences of low-income black women impacted by post-Katrina recovery in New Orleans twelve years ago as a lesson for policy planning and development post-Irma and post-Harvey. They outline how women are more likely to live in poverty—especially women of color—and represent more of the elderly population, which make them more vulnerable to climate disasters and gender-based violence both before and after disasters. For the women in public housing prior to Hurricane Katrina, they faced recovery policies that effectively eliminated their homes to make way for mixed-income developments, dispersed and curtailed public services for low-income families, and devastated key community support networks. These stories underline the importance of including women, particularly poor women and women of color, in the process of rebuilding whole communities post-disaster.
Sri Lanka’s worst drought in over 40 years has been putting pressure on communities across the country. Achini Dinesha, a mother of two living in village of Kiriyankale in the north western province of Sri Lanka must now trek five miles each day to collect water, following the drying of her backyard well and the failure of the monsoon. Women and other community members are recounting many challenges faced , including struggling to find privacy and safety for caring for their personal hygiene.
Women across the United States have presented an open letter to the women in Congress following the Trump Administration’s exit from the Paris Agreement and proposed 31 percent budget cut to the Environmental Protection Act (EPA). Hollywood elite, CEOs, advocates, and thousands of community activists have banded together to tell Congress, “Not on our watch!” In their letter, co-signers urge women of Congress to start getting serious about climate change. They point to the water crisis in Flint, fires in California, hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and air pollution in Utah as they plead for policy change that will protect the country’s children. As women, they say, the connection between climate change and gender is lived every day. They end their letter by urging Congress to provide full funding to the EPA in an effort to protect the constituents they are meant to serve. Photo credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images News/Getty Images
The impacts of climate change induced extreme weather is wreaking havoc on local communities across Caribbean Islands Nations following Hurricane Maria and Hurricane Irma. This article analyzes how imperialism, capitalism, gender inequality and unstable political settings have created a context where disasters exacerbate existing social vulnerabilities. In turn, recovery is impeded for those marginalized in society, particularly, the poor and women. The devastating gendered impacts of ecological disasters such as the 2017 Caribbean hurricanes include increases in sexual violence, which was documented as experienced by 75% of women after the Haitian earthquake in 2010. Photo credits: Ricardo Arduengo/AFP/Getty Images.
Women in Sungai Berbari, a village in Riau, Indonesia, have been organizing for representation in land use planning. Ever since the Indonesian government began opening local forests for agricultural operations, women without equal access to planning processes have been disproportionately impacted by the resulting environmental impacts. When companies burn carbon-rich peatland to develop plantations, for example, the resulting crisis-level haze becomes particularly burdensome for the women tasked with domestic duties and caring for their families. Women Research Institute has provided local women with access to forest change data and training on public speaking in order to develop advocacy strategies. Photo credit: Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)
A short video by Uthema Maldives presents the story of Aminath Moosa, woman farmer from Vaadhoo, Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll, who has been struggling for the last 3-4 years with problems with her land and crops, which she attributes to climate change impacts on the island, which has affected seasonal and rainfall patterns. Photo credit: Uthema Maldives
With increasing natural disasters especially in coastal areas, homes and crop fields are swept away by tides, forcing people to migrate in search of work to urban places. The report Climate Change Knows no Borders, prepared by ActionAid, Climate Action Network South Asia and Bread for the World (Brot Fuer Die Welt) explores the gendered implications of natural disasters and compels national policymakers to urgently address the policy gap. Gender mainstreaming is required at all levels, especially in climate laws, policies and programs, to address the needs and priorities of both genders such as in access to resources, information, and credit. Photo credit: Manipadma Jena
In this article, Isabella Lövin, Sweden’s deputy prime minister, discusses women’s physical and economic vulnerability to climate change as well as their critical role in a just transition despite often limited power and access to resources in decision-making spaces. She advocates that gender equality in low-carbon development and climate change adaptation is essential not just for the means of female empowerment but for true transformative change. To illustrate this impact, she discusses two clean energy projects in East Africa and Mongolia funded by the Green Climate Fund that center female entrepreneurship and women’s quality of life. Photo credit: Ashden
Research by the Urban Institute quantifies how poor women in South Asia feel the impacts of climate change. Torrential rain and poor drainage contribute to the proliferation of disease, overwhelming women with more domestic work and sleep deprivation; not only that, but floods prevented women and men from working, leading to economic insecurity, alcoholism and domestic abuse. Climate change affects different aspects of women’s lives: their financial security, their marriage, and their physical well-being. Photo credit: Nicolas Asfouri/AFP/Getty Images.
Eta Tuvuki is a single mother who saw her house dismantled in seconds by the powerful cyclone Archipelago. The mental trauma of losing her safe shelter didn’t deter her, however; rather it made her strong and inspired her to do something concrete for her fellow women facing the same situation. Today, as a rural leader for the Fiji-based NGO FemlinkPacific, Tuvuki acts as intermediary between her village and other government representatives. Apart from that, she shares the stories of women on the radio, helping and training women to restore the farms knocked out by cyclones and to be prepared for any kind of weather disaster. Photo credit: Sonia Narang
Although Uganda and Tanzania have seen visible changes in the lives of women via legal and constitutional means, their current climate policy fails to acknowledge gender and social glass ceilings faced by women in social matrices where their roles, priorities, opportunities are different from men’s. Ignoring the gender gap in fields like agriculture impacts the economy of country negatively. This study reveals that closing the gender gap in agriculture would increase Tanzania’s GDP by $105 million and Uganda’s by $67 million. Though the governments of Uganda and Tanzania are trying to close this gender gap, a lot still needs to be done at the local, national and international levels in regard to better allocation of resources and including women not as beneficiaries, but rather as an equal partners in the development process.
Sheema Sen Gupta, head of UNICEF Bangladesh, explains how the country is one of the most affected by climate change, and that one of its clearest consequences is the massive migration from rural to urban areas. Besides other urban problems that arise from this, child marriage as a solution for keeping girls “safe” is a big concern. The government is carrying out programmes to educate and inform young people about keeping an eye for each other, reaching out for help when there is risk of child marriage, and seeking counseling to avoid it. A short documentary also explores the topic further, looking into the stories of Brishti and Razia, both 14-year-old girls. Photo credits: Reuters/Andrew Biraj
The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Management is calling attention to the disproportionate impact of natural disasters on women and girls. For example, Haiti’s Hurricane Matthew not only devastated the country’s economy, but also put women in particularly difficult positions as family caretakers and stewards of natural resources. This article argues for gender mainstreaming in disaster risk management to center women’s knowledge and agency in disaster response and reconstruction efforts. Photo credit: UN Photo/Logan Abassi
Kavita, a landless widowed woman in rural southern India, works tirelessly to overcome the debt her husband left unpaid. Unfortunately, she doesn’t have land of her own, which makes her ineligible for government aids or loans. Such limited access to the land she works on not only limits her economic empowerment and ownership, but also hinders her ability to stand up against gender-based violence as well. The percentage of women who own land in rural India is just about 13%. Photo credit: Reuters
Rural women of the Philippines are fighting for their survival in face of the triple threat of violent conflict, poverty and changing climate conditions. Particular groups of women, such as female farmers, widows and Indigenous women, are the first to feel the effects of extreme weather. Low crop production and food insecurity, as well as armed conflict, cause many to migrate to large cities within their country and abroad, where human trafficking, sexual abuse and other gendered violations are becoming increasingly common under mounting climate pressures. Photo credit : PWRDF, CC BY-SA
In this blogpost, Verania Chao, a Policy Specialist for Environment and Climate Change within the Gender Team at the Bureau for Policy and Programme Support at UNDP, argues for centering gender in climate change policy. The gendered barriers women face to not only add to women’s daily labor, but also increase the cost of managing the impacts of climate change.The dearth of gender-specific approaches and limited gender disaggregated data in major climate policies is one of the main obstacles to overcome to implement sound and just climate policy. Photo credit: Shashank Jayaprasad
Natural catastrophes affect men and women in different manners. According to research, women are more likely to face multiple challenges based on their gender due to several causes, such as the lack of safe spaces in relief centers. In addition, reports document how in countries where the socioeconomic status is low, more women die in natural disasters than men. Photo-credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images, NOAA
In this article, several powerful women from Fiji describe the negative impacts of climate change on there communities, where high-intensity cyclones and flooding are becoming increasingly common. Marica Kepa explains that women are more likely to become victims of gender-based violence during cyclones due to lack of privacy and proper lighting. Fijian women farmers speak on how storms have wiped out their farms and created severe losses. Finally, Sesarina Naliku speaks on how women vendors are trying to fight against climate change impacts through savings which will be used in the case of upcoming disasters. Photo-credit: Sonia Narang
The Baka Pygmies of Eastern Cameroon know all too well how development projects can be used to destroy the livelihoods, homes and cultures. The nomadic-hunter gatherers have been pushed off their ancestral lands by mining and logging companies, as well as by conservation groups trying to save elephants and gorillas. Pushed into the territories of forest-dwelling ethnic groups, the result has been further conflict and a turn to alcohol as a way to deal with the myriad of problems facing them. Baku women are bearing the greatest brunt of the growing alcoholism, often facing brutal violence from their husbands and other male members of the community, in addition to the stress of having to find food and generate income. Photo credit: Josiane Kougheu/Thomson Reuters
Vietnam has a long history of women’s organizing through various groups such as the Vietnam Women’s Union, and has passed robust laws to fight gender inequalities. Within the context of its high vulnerability to climate change due to increased flooding, typhoons and extended drought, it is imperative that the solutions crafted are responsive to the ways in which asymmetries of power between men and women play out. Photo credit: WECAN International
Shamina Ali is the leader of the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre and has been fighting domestic violence for more than three decades. In 2017, thanks to the Crisis Centre’s efforts, the Fijian government launched its first helpline for victims of domestic violence. More than 60% of Fijian women will suffer from domestic abuse in their lifetime, a figure exacerbated by climate change. One of the consequences of natural catastrophes is the displacement of thousands of families to shelters, where men and women are cramped together in close quarters without protection from sexual harassment and violence. Shaireen Mohammed and Verenaisi Naitu, also part of the Crisis Centre, explain more about climate change-related cases of violence against women and how they offer free counseling and support to the victims not only psychologically, but also in official and lawful matters. Photo credit: Sonia Narang
Climate change is ushering in an era of droughts, which exacerbate famine and armed conflict in eastern Africa. Mothers are now struggling to keep themselves and their children alive. In this photo essay, Oxfam celebrates a few of these incredible survivors, but also exposes the day-to-day battles they must face. Striking photography and compelling narratives give us a glimpse into the lives of these mothers. Photo credit: Petterik Wiggers/Oxfam
Climate change is igniting a rise in human trafficking, as natural disasters put women and children in post-catastrophe situations that traffickers exploit. Emma Porio, a professor of sociology at Ateneo de Manila University, explains how natural phenomena like Typhoon Haiyan displace women and girls, making them vulnerable to sex traffickers. The Renew Foundation is helping bar girls and sex workers transition out of dependency and into new careers and new lives. Photo credit: Hannah Reyes Morales
Companies like Kellogg and Nestlé, who use palm oil for ice cream and chocolate products, buy their oil from suppliers that employ women. Women working in the fields are often assigned to spray pesticides and insecticides without any wearing any safety equipment. Minah, a worker at palm oil plantation in Riau, said a lot of the pesticide hits her face during spraying, suffering from respiratory and vision problems. NGO Sawit Watch and Amnesty International in Indonesia have unveiled many such stories, including instances when women are deprived of the two days of menstrual leave entitle to them by Indonesia’s law. Photo Credit: Wudan Yan
In North Dakota, the Dakota Access pipeline puts at risk water resources in the area, which is the reason why Coya White Hat-Artichoker and her cousin, Aldo Seoane, act as water protectors for the Dakotas. According to Coya, the Lakota word for womb translates as “her water,” a reminder that women’s reproductive health, as well as water, is vital for the perpetuation of life. The same dangers are posed on other Indigenous communities in the United States, such as the many peoples from Los Alamos, in New Mexico. The disrespect for water also means disrespect for their lives. Photo credit: Reuters/Andrew Cullen
Two years after the devastating 2015 earthquake in Nepal, women across the country are still experiencing extreme vulnerability to threats including infectious disease, food and water issues, sexual abuse and human trafficking. Sita Kumal describes how she became caught in this difficult situation, and others tell of the terrible consequences the cataclysm has had on their lives in a country struggling to rebuild. Photo credit: Reuters/Navesh Chitrakar
In the last 35 years, Bangladesh has witnessed an increase in groundwater salinity by about 26%. Most activities related to water use and fetching are women’s work Bangladesh, and with water sources either drying up or becoming saline due to climate change, the already back-breaking work of looking for water by women continues to increase. Women and children on Bangladesh’s coast are increasingly contracting water-borne diseases, in addition to suffering from pregnancy-related conditions such as preeclampsia and hypertension, resulting from higher levels of salty water intake. Khadija Rahman, who lives on Bangladesh’s southwest coast, tells her story. Photo credit: Neha Thirani Bagri
Geeta Mridha is a widow whose husband was killed by a tiger while fishing in the backwaters of Sundarbans National Park, India. His death was part of an increase in incidents with tigers and other animals as a result of erosion and loss of the coastal mangroves and lands due to climate change. Women like Geeta are blamed by society for the increasing hardships, poverty and land loss of their families across the region.
Repeated drought in Kenya has forced women to cut trees for survival. According to the United Nations, 2.6 million people in Kenya need food aid. Excessive deforestation can lead to the degradation of water resources, making tough situations worse. This situation recently forced Gladys Korir, a mother of six, to carry water from the Mara River long distances to landowners, in exchange for the right to cut firewood. Protecting and maintaining forest resources by increasing the women farmers’ role in agriculture will help solve these multifaceted problems. Photo credit: Reuters/Noor Khamis
Photographer Acacia Johnson Documents Life In The Arctic, The Inuit And The Impact Of Climate Change
In breathtaking photographs, Acacia Johnson takes us through the wonders of life in the Arctic by documenting Inuit women, their culture and everyday lives, as well as showing the impact of climate change in the Canadian North on the livelihoods of not just its people, but also its animals and landscape. Melting Arctic sea ice is endangering many species whose lives depend on the cold temperatures of a bygone era. Photo credit: Acacia Johnson
The territory of Manipur has been turbulent since British colonization of India, leaving thousands of women widows and survivors of armed violence. Manipuri women have a long history of confronting injustices, sexual violence and power, despite their vulnerable situation living in a militarised and climate change affected area with multiple losses to many small farmers. Groups such as the Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network and the Rural Women’s Upliftment Society fight against such vulnerability by offering counseling and support, and also by teaching Indigenous women such as Lalzamien how to use ecological and biodiverse farming methods as a way of reversing climate change. Not only that, but many Indigenous women’s groups, and activists such as Mary Beth Sanate and Shangnaidar Tontang fight for seats and female representatives in various decision-making, peacebuilding and negotiation forums. Photo credit: Rucha Chitnis
Facing cyclones, floods, rising sea levels, and everything in between, women of the Pacific Islands, including Viva Tatawaqa and Helen Hakena, are speaking out. Bringing their message to international forums and media, these women are making links between climate change, the gender gap, sexual and reproductive rights, and global justice.
Women and children are still the most affected by the earthquake, tsunami, and Fukushima Daiichi power plant meltdown of six years ago—because of not only injustices right after the events, but also the government’s current intention to resettle residents in areas close to the power plant, which are still contaminated, according to Greenpeace. There are threats to withdraw financial support from evacuees and housing support from those who chose to evacuate outside of the state’s evacuation order area. Kendra Ulrich, Global Energy Campaigner with Greenpeace Japan, states how problematic it is to force people to go back to contaminated areas and that this economic coercion is a violation of rights. Single mothers are the most affected and the most dependent on the financial compensation—many mothers evacuated with their children, divorcing partners who chose to continue working in contaminated areas. Many mothers question the government’s decontamination of only certain areas, which leaves inhabitants still surrounded by contamination and not free to walk around. Noriko Kubota of Iwaki Meisei University notes the impacts of this confinement on children’s development. Thousands of mothers are fighting the withdrawal of support and have filed a class action lawsuit against the government to protect their choices. Photo Credit: Greenpeace/N. Hayashi
Seventy-six women scientists focusing on climate change made their way to Antarctica for a year-long women’s leadership program called Homeward Bound in 2017. The program’s aim is to groom future women leaders in STEM who will also be able to lead public policy. Heidi Steltzer, a polar ecologist, and Katharine Hayhoe, director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University, concur that women’s participation in high levels of science research and policy could be improved. After seeing the melting of Antarctica, the women returned to their jobs with a renewed desire to advocate for swift action on climate change. Photo credit: Anne Christianson
In Chiware, Zimbabwe, farmer Chengetai Zonke has been forced to reduce her maize crop due to the climate change induced natural disasters creating unpredictable weather patterns. Like many other women in Zimbabwe, Zonke’s household’s livelihood depends on her farming and household work. Farmers across Zimbabwe have been forced to reevaluate their crop growing methods. Zonke has begun cultivating small-grain seeds to grow crops that are easier to care for and pay more, but she is still apprehensive about the future of women farmers amidst climate change. Photo Credit: Tonderayi Mukeredzi/IRIN
Rising population, pollution and the intense competition between water users has resulted in a water crisis in many parts of India. As primary stakeholders in water resource management, women make up the majority of the 330 million people bearing the brunt of severe drought, acute water shortages and agricultural distress. In the face of many threats however, Dr. Ranjana Kumari, director of the Centre for Social Research, a New Delhi-based think tank argues that efforts to bolster women’s rights and access to information and training continue to provide hope. Photo Credit: Neeta Lal/IPS
Mongolia was struck by harsh weather conditions in the winter of 2017, raising risks for pastoral and nomadic communities. The situation has caused particular concern for women and girls, who are experiencing limited access to sexual and reproductive health supplies and care as well as increased vulnerability to gender-based violence. Many report that with families struggling to cope, women’s health and hygiene needs have taken a back seat. Photo credit: UNFPA Mongolia/Bayartsogt Shagdarsuren
Exploring issues from domestic violence to conflict zone poverty affecting women, this article from the Natural Resources Defense Council offers the reader a window into the challenges and hurdles women confront everyday. This piece also highlights how women can be the major force for change even as they fight through great adversity. A telling article on the role of women as leaders in the fight against climate change. Photo credit: Nazario Graziano
WECAN (Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network) cofounder and director Osprey Orielle Lake details how and why women of the United States march against their incoming President, Donald Trump. With the seriousness of the incoming president’s beliefs on minorities, immigrants, women and the environment, the Women’s March is important in voicing the people’s true beliefs which are not in line with those of Trump. A call for action is made for all to join in to support social and ecological justice in the nation. Photo credit: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters
Discover the efforts and work of ActionAid, Climate Action Network South Asia and Bread for the World in their vital recent report, “Climate Change Knows No Borders,” which documents and shares vital analysis on the impact of climate induced migration on women in South Asia. Photo credit: Manipadma Jena/thethirdpole.net
ActionAid International, the Climate Action Network South Asia, and Bread for the World have prepared a new report, “Climate Change Knows No Borders,” warning of the devastating and increasing impact of climate change on migration in South Asia and calling on national policy makers to especially address the impacts on women. The International Organisation for Migration explains that migrant women and men have different vulnerabilities, priorities, responsibilities, and opportunities. Photo credit: Mangala
Maleloko Fokotsale is the chief of her small village, a title not held by many women in Lesotho. She is also one of many women who bear the double burden of domestic chores and full-time farm work during a years-long drought in the area. Maleloko tends to a sustainable “keyhole” garden on her land, which requires up to 70% less water to produce vegetables than traditional gardens, saving women like Maleloko from walking miles each day to collect water. Photo credit: Ryan Lenora Brown
Researchers with the Navajo Birth Cohort Study are taking ongoing action to expose the harms to mothers and babies posed by the brutal legacy of uranium mining on Diné lands in the Four Corners Region of the United States. Despite an end to intensive uranium mining many decades ago, insufficient clean up efforts, historical injustices, and violation of Indigenous rights have left 500+ open abandoned uranium mines which continue to threaten the lives and futures of residents every day. Photo credit: Kristy Blackhorse/Malcolm Benally
In this interview, Myrna Cunnigham, a Miskita feminist, Indigenous rights activist and president of the Association for Women's Rights in Development (AWID) in Nicaragua explains why the gender-based violence Indigenous women and girls experience within their communities cannot be separated from colonisation or traditional territorial governance systems. As climate change and land grabs threaten Indigenous women’s role as traditional protectors of Mother Earth, Cunningham invites people worldwide to mobilise against gender-based violence, as it is also a matter of collective rights. Photo credit: Intercontinental Cry
Women around the world are uniting to demand the opportunity to be part of the solution for climate justice. Coverage of a Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network event at the COP22 climate talks shares the struggles and triumphs of women fighting for climate justice, from the Navajo Nation to the camp at Standing Rock to Morocco. Women are leading work to defend food, seeds, water and land, and are driving real climate solutions. Photo credit: Rodrigo Buendia/AFP/Getty Images
Climate change has been fueling extreme drought in Mozambique, and the women and girls of the country are bearing the brunt of the harsh conditions. Out of sheer desperation to provide for their families, more women are turning to “survival sex” and other forms of sexual labor in exchange for money and food. There also seems to be an increase in child marriage, as families attempt to reduce the number of dependents in their family. We stand with our sisters and raise our voices to highlight the unique and dire ways in which climate change is already impacting women and girls around the world. Photo credit: CARE
Drawing from the input and calls to action of over 100 global women leaders united by the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network, the comprehensive ‘Women’s Climate Action Agenda’ and ‘Women’s Climate Declaration’ set forth a strong analysis of how women are most impacted by climate change; and the solutions which they are calling forth and building - from eco-cities to international policy and trade; from seeds and farming, to oceans - from reconnecting with Nature, to the just transition for 100% renewable energy. Photo credit: Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network
Madeline Ostrander, an environmentalist journalist, ponders having children in a world with climate change. Elaborating on Paul and Anne Ehrlich’s theory about how the population boom and lack of resources would have terrible consequences for the world, she writes about the struggles that people such as herself, aware of the world’s reality, face when dealing with this personal, though with common, choice. She also writes about Meghan Kallman and Josephine Ferorelli, and their project Conceivable Future, through which they want to open a place for compassionate discussion regarding bearing kids in an era of climate change. Photo credit: Karl-Raphael Blanchard
Barrick Gold, the Canadian mining giant and the world’s largest gold producer, is infamous for human rights abuses and ecocide. Nearly 120 sexual assault survivors from Papua New Guinea have taken their case to the United Nations Forum on Business and Human Rights in Geneva, demanding justice for the sexual and domestic violence that they and many more have faced over the years at the hands of mine security personnel working at Barrick Gold’s Porgera mine.
This is a joint report produced by AWID and the Solidarity Report, a result of studies conducted in early 2016 in São Paulo, Brazil. It includes an analysis of the effects that corporate power has on the lives of women, including women from the LGBTQI community, Indigenous and black women, human rights defenders, and female workers. The struggles of these women in defying big corporations is portrayed in the report, and the recommendations at the end mention the need to seek collective power through various social movements. Photo credit: AWID
Force: Upsetting Rape Culture, a survivor-led art and activism group, has created an infographic to demonstrate that Native women are at greater risk of sexual assault where oil pipelines are being built. The infographic details in particular the dangers for women of the Standing Rock Sioux. The state of North Dakota, which produces more oil than any other state, obtains most of this oil from tribal lands. To do so, areas known as “man camps” are set up to house oil workers in close proximity to Native communities, which facilitates an increase in sexual violence that cannot be prosecuted by Native Nations. Building the Dakota Access Pipeline has impinged on not only water safety but also women’s safety. Photo credit: Paulann Egelhoff
Driven into cities after losing land, farms and crops due to climate change disasters, poor Bangladeshi families, in fear of sexual harassment, bad reputation and loss of honor for the family, marry off their girls at an early age, explains Shahana Siddiqui, a gender specialist at Dhaka’s BRAC University. This short documentary approaches two 14-year-old girls, originally from villages in Jamalpur, whose families had to migrate to the capital after they lost their farms to natural disasters. Watch the film to know more about Brishti and Razia, one already married and divorced and the other trying to postpone her marriage as much as she can, despite her father’s wishes. Photo credit: Thomson Reuters Foundation
Klima Seniorinnen (Senior Women for Climate Protection) are holding the Swiss government accountable for its climate inaction by submitting a legal petition to demand that their government take stronger action on climate change. The group is comprised of women above the age of 65 and with an increase of heat-waves across Europe, they are at a higher risk of suffering from cardiac arrest, respiratory and circulatory problems, heatstroke and dehydration. This is as much a fight for their wellbeing as it is for the future of the young of Europe. Photo credit: Huffington Post
Violence On The Land, Violence On Our Bodies: Building an Indigenous Response to Environmental Violence
This report by the Women’s Earth Alliance and Native Youth Sexual Health Network examines case studies from across Indigenous lands of the United States and Canada, including the Dine/Navajo Nation, Lubicon Lake Nation, Grassy Narrows First Nation, Ohkey Owingeh Pueblo, the Akwesasne Mohawk Nation, and others - asking why and how Indigenous women in frontline communities are being impacted by intense environmental racism, and sexual and gendered violence due to expansion of extractive and toxic industries in their homelands. It also examines community-based strategies being implemented to resist impacts to health, safety and the land. Photo credit: WEA
Kelly F. Austin of Lehigh University and Laura A. McKinney of Tulane University used data from 85 less developed nations for their study entitled “Disaster Devastation in Poor Nations: The Direct and Indirect Effects of Gender Equality, Ecological Losses, and Development.” The study aims to quantitatively assess the drivers of suffering from disasters across less developed nations reveals that women who are economically empowered have a disproportionately positive impact on disaster outcomes. The researchers found that advancing the economic status of women reduces the proportion of people affected by disasters directly, because economically empowered women are able to better prepare for and respond to disasters and indirectly, as they enhance health resources in the community that help reduce harm and prevent death.