Climatic change impact on gender

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March 11, 2017 by Species Ecology

Climatic change impact on gender

Hanadi Bader

The 1997 Kyoto Protocol committed industrialized countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in recognition of the threat posed by climate change. December 2009 saw the 15th Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Climate Change Convention. Considerable progress towards an agreement should have been made at December’s conference if new greenhouse gas emissions targets are to be in place when the initial Kyoto commitments expire in 2012.

Since that time, climatic change became not a pure environmental concern, but also a social issue although a little attention is given to subordinated groups and how they will be affected by climatic change.

This paper clarifies the distinct impacts of climate change on gender according to literatures discuss this enviro- social context.

Most of researches and literatures agree on two main arguments:1) there is an impact of climatic change on gender roles, 2) women will be more affected than men from climatic change. On other hand, there are different scenarios about the mechanisms of such impacts.

What is the impact of climatic change on gender roles?

Climate change is emerging as a critical global issue with the potential to cause further devastation to developing countries already suffering social, political, environmental and economic hardships” ( UNDP 2008, 2), which means that will be an “ Influencing climate change mitigation and adaptation policies include gender and biodiversity concerns from local to global level (i.e. development of gender-biodiversity criteria and guidelines for national adaptation policies, capacity building for decision makers, elaboration of national adaptation platforms) “ (IUCN 2007,2). And so gendered impacts of climate change, adaptation strategies and capacities to increase resilience, and priorities and options of women and men for coping with changes in different contexts -including livelihoods tied to agriculture, animal husbandry, forestry and fisheries/aquaculture, as well as livelihood strategies in urban settings will have a great effects in gender roles.

Impacts of climate change on gender roles and relations at the household level, including links between severe stress from natural disasters and discrimination against women and girls, for example; In many communities in developing countries gathering, transporting and purchasing household fuels is the responsibility of women. This becomes increasingly difficult with dwindling availability of food and biomass energy resources. Women without access to modern forms of energy are exposed to indoor air pollution and related health problems such as bronchitis, asthma and miscarriage. Access to non-polluting fuels that do not damage peoples’ health should be an important element of mitigation programmes. But it is essential that such considerations be integrated in an effective manner and with proper consultation regarding their effect on women. The policies, technological changes and instruments being proposed to mitigate carbon emissions must use and develop both gender sensitive criteria and indicators to ensure their impacts do not bypass or negatively affect women ( UNDP 2008).

Different scenarios about the mechanisms of climatic change impacts on gender

There are many scenarios about the ways that climatic change affects gender or particularly women; for example there is arguments that deal with this issue from economic point of view, the limited adaptive capacities arise from prevailing social inequalities and ascribed social and economic roles that manifest itself in differences in property rights, access to information, lack of employment and unequal access to resources. Further, changes in the climate usually impact on sectors that are traditionally associated with women, such as paddy cultivation, cotton and tea plantations, and fishing. This means increased hardship for women (Parikh nd).

On other hand, one argument is related to health concerns and results depending on the impact of climatic change in gender like, Increased morbidity and mortality due to heat waves, floods, storms, fires and droughts Greater incidence of infectious diseases such as cholera, malaria and dengue fever, due to the extension of risk seasons and a wider geographic distribution of disease vectors Increased malnutrition, diarrhoea, and cardio respiratory diseases (UNDP 2009).

Some are talking about food security and water scarcity and as a result those things will increase gender burdens because women are the main producers of the world‘s staple crops, providing up to 90% of food for the rural poor and producing .60–80% of the food in most developing countries. Women already struggle to cope with year-to-year variability of maize, sorghum, millet and groundnut yields associated with the El Niño Southern Oscillation. Crop productivity in extreme El Niño years is expected to drop a further 20–50% in southern Africa and so women are already more vulnerable to nutritional problems (IUCN 2007).


Most of the literatures agree in the argument that say about the impact of climatic change on gender but they differ in their argument about the way that effects is being . also their is general point of view that has been shared between most of the writers which is the impact on women is greater than that on men.


IUCN 2007, “Gender and climate change Women as agents of change”, Women’s Environment and Development Organization, December 2007

Parikh nd, “Is Climate Change a Gender Issue?”, New Delhi

UNDP 2009,” Resources Guide on Gender & Climate Change”, Kimberly Koserowski, First Kiss Creative LLC

UNDP 2008, “Gender and Climate Change: Impact and Adaptation”, Regional Gender Team Negombo, Sri Lanka, 24–26 September 2008,Workshop Highlights


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