Global Community Must Recognize Links Between Climate, Gender

IRIN: What to do about climate change? Ask women — they have the most to lose
Winnie Byanyima, executive director at Oxfam International

“Climate change affects women in a profoundly different way than men. Culture and tradition in many places puts the role of caring for families on women. … So as the impacts of climate change take grip, it is women who must be on the front lines of adapting and finding solutions: new sources of water; new ways to feed their families; new crops to grow and new ways to grow them; new ways to cook. … If we are to stop climate change from trampling on the rights of women and the most vulnerable, then we need to fight for more equal societies. This means questioning unequal gender roles, sharing work more evenly between men and women, and increasing women’s participation in decision-making. … We need to recognize the burdens and inequities placed on women in the home, in crisis situations, and in our economic structure and begin to address gender when addressing the impacts of climate change. … In the months ahead, governments must follow the lead of the world’s most vulnerable nations and immediately begin strengthening their commitments to take action, including adding women’s voices in the process” (12/18).

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