Women and the Environment: Why More Women are Needed in the Fight Against Climate Change

Due to the fact that women make up the majority of the world’s poor, up to 70% according to the UN, they are significantly more vulnerable to the effects of climate change than men. The extent to which women are disproportionately affected by climate change is truly shocking; 80% of people displaced due to climate change are women and women and children are 14 times more likely to die in a disaster than men! It is important to note that this proportion exists all over the world, not just in the developing world. For example, during the 2003 heatwave in Europe, more women than men died and after the devastating Hurricane Katrina in 2005, 60% of the jobs that were lost as a result of the destruction belonged to women. 

There are many reasons for this inequity in the effects of climate change. Most of these reasons are a result of poverty. Women, as mentioned, are more likely to live in poverty and therefore more likely to be malnutrition and in poor health making them vulnerable during disasters. There are also cultural reasons for this injustice. As women remain the primary caregivers in almost every country they are more likely to prioritize the care and safety of children and the every which leads to women risking their safety for others. The list of reasons that make women particularly vulnerable goes on…

Gender equality is linked to the environment and the effects of climate change, but will increasing the number of women in politics help to ease this inequity? The answer is a resounding yes! 

Increased numbers of women in politics have been linked to improvements in several policy areas that could reduce the vulnerability of women to environmental disasters and climate change. Across the world, it is clear that women prioritise health and education as well as other areas linked to development. Increased spending on education is crucial to gender equality and women’s empowerment. Education allows girls to gain the skills and knowledge necessary to escape poverty which will therefore increase their health. 

Increased spending on health is also vital to helping those affected by climate change as healthier people are less vulnerable to disaster. Additionally, disease outbreaks in the aftermath of a disaster, particularly water-borne diseases, is very common and better health policies are necessary to mitigate the effects of these outbreaks. 

Women in politics also prioritise environmental protection more than men. In a study carried out by Ramstetter and Habersack in 2019 that looked at Members of the European Parliament, it was found that women were significantly more “likely to support environmental legislation than men-even after controlling for political ideology and nationality”

Women are significantly more vulnerable to climate change than men. Currently, women continue to be exposed to the effects of climate change due to a lack of gender equality across the globe. increasing the number of women in politics helps to not only improve the lives of women, making them less vulnerable to the effects of climate change, it also leads to better environmental legislation. This is vital to solve our current climate crisis and ensure that women are no longer bearing the brunt of climate change. 

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