Review of the Linkages between Gender Equity and Climate Change Issues in Developing Countries
Climate change is an environmental problem with a strong political and development component. Addressing its threat has become a current global priority. The impacts of global climate change are not only physical and economic, (for instance, in the form of natural disasters), but also social and cultural, jeopardizing environmentally based livelihoods in many parts of the world. The impacts of climate change will fall disproportionately upon developing countries and the poor persons within all countries, thereby exacerbating inequalities in health status and access to adequate food, clean water and other resources. The majority of the poor developing countries are women, who at all levels earn less than men and therefore bear the disproportionate burden of climate change consequences, mainly because of their marginalized status and dependence on local natural resources. Poor women’s lack of access to and control over natural resources, technologies and credit mean that they have fewer resources to cope with seasonal and episodic weather and natural disasters. Consequently, traditional roles are reinforced, girls education suffers, and women’s ability to diversity their livelihood is diminished. Again, in traditional societies, women are even more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change because they are often not allowed to participate in public sphere, and are therefore less likely to receive critical information for emergency preparedness. They are also less mobile due to strict and gendered codes of social behavior, and have fewer chances to escape from affected areas.