Climate Change is a Feminist Issue

Mother and Child

After the Covid Pandemic, the climate crisis feels like the most pressing issue of the 21st Century. This is because both these events are so significant; it feels like they should impact us all equally. But the fact is that they don’t.

Covid had a more significant impact on Black, Asian and other ethnic communities than the white population. It also impacted women harder than men. The climate crisis will also exploit entrenched inequalities, meaning that the effects of climate change are being felt much more quickly by some communities than others. And as aforementioned, one of these groups feeling the impact the most, is women.

  1. Women are more likely to be of lower socioeconomic status than their male counterparts. You might not know it, but women make up 70% of the world’s poor.

  2. Women are disproportionately more likely to lose their jobs than men—this was visible even during the Covid pandemic, with a recent study showing that women were twice as likely to have lost their position in the UK than their male counterparts.

  3. Women are not likely to be in charge of their household or hold the financial decision-making power. This means they often cannot get hold of the resources they need to survive climate crisis related (and other) disasters.

  4. Women are often responsible for maintaining the home, finding and preparing food, collecting water, keeping the home warm, finding fuel, etc. Unfortunately, climate change is making these tasks more complicated, and resources are becoming scarcer.

  5. Women are usually the primary caregivers, making them responsible not only for themselves but those around them. Unfortunately, this often leads to women prioritising children and other family members over themselves, resulting in malnutrition and severe dehydration.

  6. Women are often on the receiving end of gendered domestic violence. Living in dangerous and fraught conditions caused by the climate crisis increases stress levels and the possibility of domestic violence.

  7. Women are migrating at higher levels than men—the UN has shown that 80% of people displaced by climate change are women.

  8. Women are targets of more crime than men as they migrate away from their homelands. They are more frequently becoming victims of people trafficking, violence and sexual harassment.

  9. Women are responsible for 50-80% of agriculture—and yet, own less than 10% of the land.

  10. Women are more likely to die during a crisis—climate or otherwise—than men.

The above points show us why the climate crisis is gendered. At the same time, gender inequality is entrenched and widespread. We need to acknowledge that climate change is an intersectional issue and listen to different genders, races, and classes. These groups need to be equally represented in places of control and leadership. By doing this, we can make sure that progress is made for all marginalized communities.  After all, climate action that disregards any of its population—and with women, that’s 50%—is not credible and will not find effective solutions.

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