Climate Change Activist: Extreme Weather Is Sexist, Targets Women and Girls

A Chadian woman from the Mothers Association of School Children waits for her child at the Ecole Mani School, Chad, 120 km (75 miles) south of the capital, N'djamena, Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2006. Girls account for 60% of the 40 million children in Africa who do not attend school because …
AP Photo/Sayyid Azim

A media foundation is reporting that climate change discriminates against females in an article posted on its website with the headline “Sexist climate change? Women and girls hit hardest by extreme weather.”

The Thomson Reuters Foundation reported:

In parts of the world where grave gender inequality is already stark, freak weather events mean women and girls are often among the last to receive help.

Climate projections about rising sea levels and soaring temperatures increasingly dominate global headlines, but one climate story that rarely gets told is the tale of how women and girls are hit hardest by extreme weather and shocks.

The reporting came after an international “debate” on the subject, which the author of the article moderated for the UK-funded Building Resilience and Adaptation to Climate Extremes and Disasters (BRACED) program. 

The author said in places around the world where “gender inequality is already stark” bad weather means women and girls are last to get help.

The article cites researchers in Chad, but rather than proving it is climate change that hurts the women and girls, it is clear they are facing hardships that have nothing to do with the weather, including child marriage and female genital mutilation.

“Victims of child marriage and female genital mutilation have less access to a long list of resources during times of climate crises: education, information and land ownership among others,” the article said, linking weather and these harmful practices.

“To sum up: domestic violence impedes resilience building because it prevents those who survived violence to fulfill their basic needs and interests,” said Virginie Le Masson, a research associate with the Overseas Development Institute think-tank in London, in the Reuters report.

Advocates, the article argues, can’t get women and girls ready to fight climate change because of other cultural challenges.

The article also reports on women as victims of climate change in India where Sabita Parida, a “research and evaluation consultant working on food security, gender, and climate change,” said farmers are committing suicide because of drought and failed crops.

That has, the article infers, resulted in their widows being harmed by climate change.

The women are often left to repay the debts of their dead spouses, a difficult burden because they lack land titles, which denies them government benefits — but has nothing to do with the weather.

The Reuters report said that communities in India have tried to have ‘dialogue’ about adjusting to climate change and also to get women to work to make them more independent but that the effort has had little impact.

“When it comes to implementation or adaptation, we failed,” Parida said.

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