Vulnerability of woman to climate change

The impact of climate change is one that has profound consequences for human and has emerged as biggest global challenge in recent decades.

International Labour Orgnisation said that in 2030 2.2% of total working hours worldwide will be lost to high temperatures. The United Nation highlighted that across gender women are highly vulnerable and disproportionately affected by climate change than men.

Developed vs developing countries.

Women in developing countries and less developed countries, especially in low-income areas, are more vulnerable to climate change due to:

  1. Dependence on natural resources and labor-intensive work for their livelihood.
  2. Women are more likely to live in poverty than man which make them less able to afford the resources they need to cope with climate change.
  3. Woman from low-income household are more at risk because they are more responsible for food, water and other homely unpaid works.
  4. Rural woman often shoulder the burden of ensuring access to clean water for example in Kenya, women and girls spend on average of 6 hours per day collecting water. This time commitment makes it difficult for them to attend school or work.
  5. Woman in low-income countries, predominantly in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, are engaged in climate vulnerable occupation such as farming (66% are in agriculture) where they are often underpaid and overworked.

Men vs Women:

  1. According to UN study, most (80%) of those displaced by climate related disaster are women and girls. When women are uprooted, they are more susceptible to prejudice and exploitation for instance after earthquake in Nepal in 2015 the UN population Fund found that women are more exposed to trafficking and exploitation.
  2. Increased risk of violence: women are more likely to be victim of violence during and after natural disaster due to poverty and unemployment.
  3. Separation from social networks decrease access to employment, education, and health care. These are some gender specific issues.
  4. Women engaged in agriculture do not have access to quality inputs and possess low education and technical knowledge. Thus, women farmers and laborer are vulnerable. Various studies have also reflected how flooding has increased water scarcity and violence against women.


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