Saturday, November 30, 2013

Climate change disproportionately hurting Pakistan's women

Emily Atkin in Think Progress: If Pakistan’s coastal region of Sindh is any indication, the adverse effects of climate change in developing countries will not be gender neutral.

The women in Sindh — a province of Pakistan with a population of approximately 42 million – have been socializing less, walking further, and encountering health issues due to shortages in fuel wood and fresh water, according to a report released Thursday by the women’s resource center Shirkat Gah. The shortages, the report said, are undoubtedly due to climate change.

“The changes in weather patterns and intensity of heat and cold have changed working patterns of people, especially female farmers,” Khawar Mumtaz, the chairperson of the National Commission on the Status of Women, told The Express Tribune. “Substantive cropping was replaced with cash crops. [The] second shift was from natural fertilizers to chemicals, pesticides and hybrid seeds. Forests were replaced with banana cultivation, and dams resulted in decrease of fish.”

Mumtaz told the Express Tribune that women in the region serve not only as workers, but as primary caregivers to their families. Because they must walk farther distances to fetch water and collect wood, they have less time for their families and friends, and more often end up with health issues because of it. In the province’s town of Kharo Chhan, the only girls’ primary school is facing a shortage of female teachers. Approximately 15 percent of the girls enrolled in primary schools there actually attend.

The report, among other things, suggests government initiatives that could teach women how to purify or filter water in order to decrease workloads....

Crowd of PTI during Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Protest Against Drones, Peshawar. Shot by FSCEM45212, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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