VillageRhapsody: Women's vulnerability to climate change often overlooked

The end of child marriages would reinforce the girls’ rights and enable them to access education, which in turn could lead to climate solutions

Climate change is a global problem already impacting millions of people around the world, but it can be an overwhelming subject, sometimes depending on the location and gender.

Gender disproportion and the environmental crisis are the two utmost sustainable development challenges of our time despite that climate change and Covid-19 have worsened existing inequalities worldwide.

Climate change is a reality and the world should focus on solutions for women.

As climate change worsens and forces more people to leave their homes, women are likely to feel the heaviest consequences of displacement.

A recent report by the United Nations Development Programme on the link between gender and climate change revealed that 80% of those displaced by the climate crisis are female.

That is, for every impact of climate change, there is a burden for women and girls to bear.

Ecological variability not only results in the displacement of women, it also leads to child marriages, further disempowering our girls.

Therefore, it is recommended that involving women and girls in solving the climate crisis could mean food security, zero hunger, an end to poverty, and improved education in line with sustainable development goals.

That means women should be at the heart of climate change solutions.

According to the UN women report on gender gap, it will take women 135 years to bridge the gap in gender inequality and it will also take more than a century to achieve climate justice because without gender equality, there is little or no climate justice.

Women and girls can contribute and work on fighting the significant goal of the coming generations, provided there is a safe space to do so.

Though some projects, which are being sponsored by the government of Zimbabwe and non-governmental organisations have come to understand that women’s land rights are a crucial and effective carbon capturing technique, women still bear the brunt of climate change more than men.

Reversing the climate crisis is an epoch of ecosystem restoration and to achieve this goal, women need to play a central role and be at the heart of climate justice.

Women’s land rights have a wide-reaching impact on food security, eliminating hunger and poverty, reducing gender-based violence, and on tackling climate change.

By reinforcing land rights, we are empowering women and their children.

One of the reasons development has been dawdling when it comes to climate action is because of the limited rights of women.

This barrier towards access to resources lessens women’s ability to participate as solution makers.

Using women and girls as a survival strategy is a weapon against their fundamental rights.

The end of child marriages would reinforce the girls’ rights and enable them to access education, which in turn could lead to climate solutions.

It is difficult to face the climate crisis when women, girls and other minorities are left behind.

The response needs to place women and girls at its heart, acknowledge that climate change exacerbates gender inequality and avoid treating women and girls as passive victims.

Several campaigns and rallies are conducted to ascertain women’s right to participate in the public sphere as well as to protect their rights in private life.

Women’s right to vote, smoothing child care, access to property, control over one’s body and life are established or still under the process of attainment through various feminist movements in the world.

Climate change challenges will continue to have substantial and long-term consequences for the environment and those women who are the most disadvantaged and marginalised bear the brunt of the consequences.

Women are increasingly being recognised as more vulnerable to the effects of climate change than men because women make up the majority of the world’s poor and are more reliant on the natural resources that are at a greater risk of climate change impact.

In spite of the key roles that rural women play in food security and natural resource management, they are chiefly affected by the impacts of climate change due to limited access to and control over key resources for adaptation and limited participation in decision-making processes.

Promoting gender equality in the context of climate change and disaster risk reduction is one of the greatest global challenges in our present-day society.

All-inclusive, it is essential to shape the flexibility of women’s organisations to ensure they can anticipate and successfully respond to climate and environment disasters.

Apart from that, governments should collaborate with women’s organisations to help ensure that national climate policies meet the specific needs of women and girls and are excellently executed and can contribute to building climate resilience at the local level.


  • Evans Mathanda is a journalist and development practitioner, who writes in his capacity. For feedback email: [email protected] or call 0719770038 and X @EvansMathanda19

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