Friday, October 24, 2008

Women bear the brunt of climate change in the Philippines

IPS: ….Erratic weather events attributed to climate change are causing problems for farmers [in the Philippines]... The increased frequency of heat waves, floods and drought are believed to have drastically reduced both agricultural and fishery output, and raised food prices. This, in turn, increases the burden for women and girls as they are the ones expected to ensure that there is enough food for the family, according to Ines Smyth, gender advisor of Oxfam in Britain.

Speaking at a conference held here, this week, on gender and climate change, Symth noted that owing to higher food prices, "women substitute time for cash. They take on extra work, even if they’re poorly paid’’. The four-day conference was organised by the Centre for Asia-Pacific Women in Politics and the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction.

In coastal areas, among the fishing communities of the Philippines, women are now grappling with the harsh impact of climate change, according to a report presented by the Centre for Empowerment and Resource Development Inc. (CERD), a Manila-based NGO that implements community-based coastal resource management.

"The decline in fish catch puts additional burden on the women. Aside from their household chores and participation in fishing activity, they have to find additional sources of income like working as domestic helpers for more affluent families," CERD’s project development officer, Marita P. Rodriguez, said.

Women in the agriculture and fisheries sectors are more vulnerable to climate change. Women employed as farm workers neither own land nor have access to credit and technology that can help adapt to the effects of climate change. "Limited access to credit, technology and extension services means they won’t be able to switch to cash crops or do other things to increase productivity,’’ Smyth said….

Map of the Philippines created and copyright (2003) by Seav (Eugene Villar), Wikimedia Commons, under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2

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