Rights for women fight climate change!

Article by Isabel Key and Mina Frost.

Gender inequality and mistreatment of women remains a serious global problem [1]. Here are a few figures [1]:

1) Women spend, on average, 3x longer per day providing unpaid care and doing domestic work than men, meaning they have less time for paid work, education and leisure (based on data from 106 countries) 2) The average proportion of women in national Parliaments is 24% 3) 43% of women aged 15-49 who are married or in union do not make their own decisions about sexual relationships and contraceptive use (data from 51 countries)

Across societies, women are affected more severely by climate change [2]. For example, droughts and floods have a greater impact on the poorest people, and about 70% of the world’s poor are women [2]. Therefore, climate change will exacerbate existing gender inequalities [2].

Improving gender equality can provide numerous benefits to society such as improving food security, economic security and health [2]. Women play a critical role in responding to climate change [3]. For example, using their local knowledge to inform sustainable use of resources and greater participation of women at the political level has been shown to increase responsiveness to people’s needs and increase cooperation across parties and ethnic groups [3].

One third of developing regions still have more boys than girls in school [6]. Education can equip people with knowledge to face the impacts of climate change [7]. Moreover, people with more schooling tend to have fewer children, meaning education slows population growth [7]. This, in turn, means humans overall produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions, slowing climate change [4,5]. We’ll look at this in more detail in our next two posts!


[1] https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg5 Sustainable Development Goal 5, SDG Knowledge Platform 2019

[2] https://www.iucn.org/resources/issues-briefs/gender-and-climate-change Gender and climate change, Issues Brief, IUCN

[3] https://unfccc.int/gender Introduction to Gender and Climate Change, UNFCCC

[4] https://www.cgdev.org/sites/default/files/1424557_file_Wheeler_Hammer_Economics_Pop_Policy.pdf The Economics of population policy for carbon emissions reduction in developing countries, Centre for Global Development Working Paper 229, 2010. See especially: 5.1 Global Results, page 10, and Table 2, page 22

[5] http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/985961468766195689/pdf/multi-page.pdf Another look at population and global warming, World Bank 1992. See: Figure 2: Educating girls to reduce carbon emissions

[6] https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/4.pdf

[7] https://www.drawdown.org/solutions/women-and-girls/educating-girls

See their impact evaluation: universal education in low and lower-middle income countries could achieve 51.48 gigatons of emissions (CO2e) reduction by 2015

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