Women and the Impact of Climate Change

The reality of climate change and its impacts are hard hitting. Manifested in the form of scary deluges, violent storms and cyclones, scorching days and unbearable droughts, climate change is affecting the whole world without any mercy. Though there are no particular target groups reserved for suffering, studies show that it is women who are hit worst. This is not for a single reason but for a multitude of factors, especially in the least developed and developing countries.

There are social, political, cultural and economic reasons that expose women, the poorest in particular, to face the wrath of changing global temperatures. Most of them are illiterate, unemployed and worst sufferers of malnutrition. Socio-cultural restrictions seldom allow them to prepare for the impending calamities. While men have the options of migration, and some access to adaptation techniques in the form of certain acquired skills, women have near to zero option other than taking care of family, children and carrying out their daily chores in distress.

Be it in the drought hit Bundelkhand region of India or in Sub Saharan Africa, lack of resource availability and its equitable distribution is making things worse for the women folk. Many have to travel miles to fetch water, thereby losing much of their productive time. Even malnourished and pregnant women are not spared from this routine. This adds not only to the physical distress but also to mental and emotional traumas.

The issue is not grave because it affects certain pockets of the world or a few people, but it is eroding the global productivity as a whole. It is reducing the potential of women and thus lessening a huge chunk from the global GDP. However, there are green patches of hope, with various organizations coming forward to help them. For instance the SEWA in Gujarat has formed a women’s group for implementing better water management practices. This has helped much in reclaiming the lost groundwater resources and reducing the draught trouble. Various philanthropic organizations like the Bill and Melinda Gates organization are investing much in eradicating the climate changes woes by investing in green technologies. And there is much hope for all such initiatives to bear fruit in the near future.