Climate justice and its inseparable relation with gender equality
Women are much more likely to be negatively impacted by climate change...
It is known that the poorest of the world will be hit hardest by climate change impacts. Of the world’s poor, 70% are women. With restrictions on their rights and access, which is amplified if from a BIPOC community, the impact of climate change on women is undeniable. The dichotomy lies in the fact that despite women’s overarching vulnerability to climate effects, they remain largely excluded from many major levels of decision making. This ties back into the discussion of disproportionality. Not only are women experiencing the greatest impacts, but their minor access to decision-making translates into their disproportionate contribution to climate change.
...partly because of the role they play in developing communities...
To bring focus to rural developing communities, women tend to be the family caretaker who walk far and thus put themselves at risk to feed and care for families. Women in Kenya use up to 85% of their daily energy intake fetching water. Some spend up to eight hours per day doing so, and this is only amplified by Kenya’s ongoing drought caused by the changing climate. Socio-cultural norms, which tie women to childcare, hand them responsibilities that prevent migration, refuge or even access to education and income. Fused with minimal means of entry to decision-making processes, women are left suffering at the hands of climate change with little mitigation.
...partly reflected by the higher risks they face during natural disasters
It is known that women are 14 times more likely to die during natural disasters. This can be due to a variety of factors: one of which being women’s access to training and education. Women usually do not learn how to swim, and so in situations where this is necessary (such as tsunamis) men are more likely to survive due to their knowledge and skills. Plus, in a post-disaster environment, women are at higher risk of violence and exploitation from their male counterparts. Belinda Chlouber’s Air of Earth symbolises this greater risk faced by women within our changing climate.
Lesley Thiel is a climate change artist who turns this inequality on its head. Her magical realism paintings depict climate change as a burning world, placing young women as the focus. The figures act as a beacon of hope; Thiel pushes the narrative that women have been repressed and at the crisis’ front lines that they are the new generation who can solve it.
Calling for climate justice simultaneously calls for gender justice. Women need recognition, representation and protection when it comes to our changing climate. Our use of the term ‘women’ refers to the gender identity that has historically been repressed within a patriarchal society that has driven climate change. This spans the gender identity spectrum, including transsexual and cisgender women. To move toward climate solutions, their voices should be heard and identities empowered.