Monday, November 21, 2011

Tune climate policy to women for real change

Katie Murray in AlertNet: Women are disproportionately affected by climate change effects, and will continue to be until policy makers at all levels - international, national, and local – acknowledge the problem and actively work to create climate change policies that benefit women as much as men.

Seventy-nine percent of economically active women in developing countries work in agriculture, and they represent 40 to 50 percent of the agriculture sector of most developing countries, according to a Chicago Council of Global Affairs report.

But when climate change adaptation and mitigation policies are made, the voices of women in developing countries are little addressed. Policies are put in place with the belief they will equally benefit men and women. But that is rarely possible because of the different roles men and women play and women’s “historical disadvantages” – things like lack of economic assets and decision-making power, according to Women Watch, a UN information and resource group for gender equality and women’s empowerment.

This is a particular problem because women are so heavily dependent on natural resources – far more than most men. Often women are responsible for collecting water and firewood, and do most of the farming. Working without pay, women provide their families with the essentials: water, food and heat....

Irving Rusinow took this 1941 photo in Taos County, New Mexico. Children help to carry water from the ditch or well for domestic use.

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