Climate Change is a Gender Equality Issue

Climate Change is a Gender Equality Issue

Climate change is a multiplier for other systemic problems in the world, and gender inequality is a prime example. The impacts of climate change disproportionately affect women at work and at home. Women are four times more likely to be displaced because of climate and 14 times more likely to die in climate events, according to a report released by Aon and Women+ in Climate Tech earlier this spring. Of course, climate change alone is not causing these gaps. Women also have far less of the world’s money. Still, they remain responsible for providing life essentials like food and water.

"The adverse effects of drought, floods, hurricanes, extreme rainfall events and sea level rise are often felt more keenly by women than men as a result of systemic gender discrimination and societal expectations related to gender roles,” states an IPCC report released by the secretariat of the Bonn Climate Change Conference last month.

TRT World Now: What impact does climate change have on women and girls?, November 10, 2021.

UN Climate Change COP26 Event: Women for Climate Justice Leading Solutions on the Frontlines of Climate Change, November 8, 2021.

Why This Matters

These interlinked challenges drive home the need to simultaneously take climate action and advance gender equity. The Aon report notes that having more women in upper management leads to better climate action, but the work needs to extend beyond C-suite corporate profits to reach women who aren’t a part of white-collar business. As the world warms, extreme weather events become more intense, and water availability shifts -- women’s health is literally on the line. This includes mental health impacts, which women are also more likely to feel.

DW: This is just how unfair climate change is, May 21, 2021.

Abortion: Also A Climate Issue

As US states move to criminalize abortion since the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the risk for pregnant people is only amplified with climate change. Recent studies have linked heat and air pollution to worse pregnancy outcomes, including low birth rates and stillbirths. Because of environmental racism, people of color and lower-income communities are more likely to be exposed to extreme heat and worse air quality, compounding these risks.

"The mounting threats of increased heat, air pollution, and climate change at large to pregnancy outcomes and maternal health present a toxic cocktail on their own.” Atmos wrote earlier this year. Combined with a heightened culture of surveillance and criminalization should we enter a post-Roe America, the present reality for pregnant people is dire.”

CNN: Climate change made these women question whether or not to have children, October 5, 2021.

TED: How to Collaborate for Environmental Justice, October 23, 2020.