Sunday, July 1, 2012

Caribbean: need for a gender focus in climate change policy

Patricia Grogg in IPS: Incorporating a gender focus in public policies for confronting and adapting to the impacts of climate change is still a pending task in the Caribbean, despite women’s proven skills in risk and disaster management.

Women, especially at the community level, tend to head up the networks trained in disaster evacuation and contingency plans, and play key roles in health measures and shelters during emergencies. But they are also among the most vulnerable, as reflected by statistics on the victims of impacts of extreme weather events.

In 2007, Hurricane Noel claimed 88 lives in the Dominican Republic, and left 14 people missing and 66,000 homeless. The official statistics are not broken down by gender. However, United Nations studies have documented cases of sexual violence against women in emergency shelters, where their burden of domestic work also becomes heavier.

...Experts agree that climate change will lead to more intense hurricanes and more frequent and severe drought and flooding. This threat to people’s lives and to food security makes it even more urgent to address risk management and adaptation to environmental changes with a gender perspective.

But “integrating a gender perspective in these processes requires that public policies be based on an assessment and recognition of the inequalities between men and women and between social classes in society,” said Lourdes Meyreles, a researcher at the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO) in the Dominican Republic....

In Tegucigalpa in 2000, one still saw rubble from Hurricane Mitch in 1998, shot by ZackClark, public domain

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