If we want to address climate change around the world and in the developing world in particular we need to see more women in leadership roles. There is good evidence to support the idea that when women lead communities are more sustainable.
Climate change is a critical issue for everyone, but it is especially hard on women. Happily women are also an essential part of the solution, not only because they make up half (48.1), but because women tend to be more green in their lifestyle choices and women in the workforce tend to more sustainable.
Although men created the climate crisis, women are the ones who suffer the most. Those who deny climate change, or who resist climate action tend to be men (white conservative men to be specific). This is commonly called the “white male effect.”
The nexus between women and climate change is explored in a recent Conversation article by Hilary Bambrick, Professor and Chair of Population Health, Western Sydney University. The article is titled “Worldwide, climate change is worse news for women.”
Bambrick explores how women are more likely to lack resources to escape natural disasters or disease than their male counterparts. As pointed out by Bambrick, “climate inaction costs women their livelihoods and their lives.” This is particularly true of women in the poorest parts of the developing world. Women are especially vulnerable because they tend to be over represented among the world’s poor. Poverty and climate change are locked in a vicious circle that disproportionately effects women.
World leaders have come together and signed a climate agreement at COP21 that is a tangible illustration of the global commitment to engage the climate crisis. Bambrick makes the point that if political leaders are serious about tackling climate change they must also address the issue of gender equality.
Extreme weather events kill more women than men globally. To illustrate this fact Bambrick pointed out that 90 percent of the 150,000 that were killed by the 1991 Bangladesh cyclone were women. Women are also more vulnerable to the health impacts associated with climate change. Mosquito-borne diseases are increasing due to climate change and the daily activities of women (water collection and food harvesting) puts them at greater risk. Food insecurity is another climate change related corollary that disproportionately affects women and girls.
In addition to reducing our emissions we can help women by alleviating poverty (one of the UN’s SDG goals) and contributing to the Green Climate Fund that will help poorer nations adapt to climate change. Perhaps most importantly we can empower women and support the kind of gender equality that would help to protect them from a wide range of patriarchal abuses.
The 21 Most Powerful Women in Sustainability (gb&d magazine)
Female Climate Justice Leaders and Environmental Champions (350.org)
Female CSR and Sustainability Leaders (Triple Pundit)
Female Faith Leaders Say Climate Change is a Priority Issue
Infographic – Enviromental Benefits of Empowering Women and Providing Access to Sustainable Energy
Video – Women’s Earth Alliance (WEA)
Video – Women’s Claims on Environmental Sustainability
Video – Women Environment Leaders from the Himalayas
Video – Women in Sustainability, Environment and Renewable Energy Forum (WISER) Keynote Speech
Video – Women on the Margins: The Shriver Report and Implications for Sustainability
Impediments to Women in the Workforce Inhibit Environmental Action
Celebrating Female Environmentalists on Women’s Day
Visionary Women: The Profiles of 2 Important Environmentalists
Women are More Environmentally Friendly
Video – Women and Climate Change
Vandana Shiva & Jane Goodall on Video – Serving the Earth & How Women Can Address Climate Crisis (1 of 2)
Vandana Shiva & Jane Goodall on Video – Serving the Earth & How Women Can Address Climate Crisis (2 of 2)
Video – Women Underrepresented on Boards of Directors
Canadian Sheila Watt-Cloutier the World’s Leading Voice on Arctic Climate Impacts and Human Rights
WECAN: Female Advocates of Climate Justice
Green Economy Guide for Women
WAGE: Women and the Green Economy
Renewable Energy Education for Women
Women at Work on Earth Day
Rio+20 Corporate Sustainability Forum Supports Women