Women Key to Mitigating Effects of Global Climate Change, Report Finds

Jan 26, 2010

Investments that empower women and girls around the world will have a bonus effect for the global population: They will mitigate the effects of global climate change.
That is the conclusion of a report released late last year by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). It shows that investing in women and girls will help countries prepare for and manage global climate change. Improving the health and education of women and girls, the report shows, sparks economic development, reduces poverty and slows population growth – three key ways to minimize the effects of climate change.
“The international community’s fight against climate change is more likely to be successful if policies, programmes and treaties take into account the needs, rights and potential of women,” the report says.
So far, women have been largely overlooked in the debate over climate change – even though they will play a key role in confronting it, according to the report. They will also shoulder the heaviest burden of changes in weather and other problems that arise from extreme climate change. Many will have to work harder to fetch water, grow food, clean their children and fulfill other traditional roles in a world that is hotter, drier and more vulnerable to unpredictable rains and stronger hurricanes.
As the majority of the world’s poor, women are also more likely to live in marginal areas that are vulnerable to floods, rising seas and storms.
“Women can be more affected by climate change, but they can also be agents of change in their communities and in their families, Regional Office Director of UNFPA Hafedh Chekir told the Christian Science Monitor. “Women can push to be more organized in their community around common issues, like in Darfur about water issues or about wood for cooking, about desertification, about forced migration.”
Click here to read the full State of World Population 2009 report.

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