Women all over the globe suffer more risks than men regarding the well-rehearsed topic of climate change. Yep, that’s right. Today we’ll be deliberating on this common conversation starter, with a slight twist.
What are the effects of climate change on women? Studies show that women are more likely to be affected by the increasing risk of climate change and most of these risks include socioeconomic reasons.
The question is: Why a specific gender? In fact, women are more likely to be dragged into the grave peril of poverty, face inequality based on gender, and lack vital human rights in comparison to men.
Globally, 13.7 percent of the world population suffers from poverty, in which the majority is faced by women. What’s that got to do with climate change, you ask? Climate change leads to a higher rate of national disasters overall which leads to a loss in most cases. Women are the ones that suffer whilst in many cases, men have the habit of going away leaving the women to take care of the household.
Studies show that young girls that go through poverty are 2.5 times more likely to be married off in their youth. If not, women and girls often face the increased risk of sexual discrimination and child trafficking.
Climate change can result in homes becoming inhabitable, so poverty is inevitable.
Furthermore, gender inequality can be a predictable outcome for women considering climate change. More often, disasters lead to damage and an increased amount of work. Women are forced to work relentlessly to make up for the loss. From household chores being increased to an overwhelming amount to working nights for food, at times of crisis the burden is uncontrollable.
Climate change also results in more sexual abuse cases; being an easier target after loss. In times of crisis, girls furthermore face the risk of missing classes for school and necessary education. Moreover, most girls are forced into marriage at the inexperienced age of fourteen with or without consent, when struggling families just can’t
afford to keep them safe. Marriage is seemingly a way to slightly diminish the horrors of poverty.
Human rights are – hence the name – rights given to every human respectfully. Women are more often denied their rights in certain countries, and so more than ever when it comes to climate change outcomes. Human rights include the right to Life, which due to climate change is hardly distinguished.
Some traditions force women to let men escape first and try to protect elders and/or children. This puts a huge risk factor on their life. Other times, women require permission from men to leave their household which – if granted – can put a delay into escape. Other rights include the right to an opinion, which in most third-world countries is a massive no-no when it comes to women. Climate change can only do its best to make it insufferable. Women and girls are unable to voice opinions regarding what could be done to
change this grave situation in certain places.
The lack of rights also allows marriage without the girl’s consent and sexual discrimination. Additionally, women are denied property rights in half the countries
around the globe. Single mothers who have suffered damage through natural disasters don’t economically have the best options to redeem what was lost.
Nonetheless, Men also suffer through loss, damage, and health issues when it comes to climate change. However, women go through more due to the fear of facing poverty, gender-based inequality, and a lack of human rights. What they want is equality, what they need is support.
What most people think when it comes to such a topic is how gender could differentiate with something as trivial and irrelevant as climate change, which logically should not have socioeconomic risk factors when it comes to gender distinction.
In reality, it shouldn’t. The fact that it does is a human fault that should be rectified as soon as possible. After all, Every human life is worth saving, no matter the cost.