As primary caregivers, many women in poorer countries are responsible for trekking miles to collect water and fuel. When climate change depletes water, women notice first. Water is a climate change issue.
In many parts of the world women have already walked long distances to find water, but, as sources dry up, those treks are becoming more difficult. Searching remote areas for fuel and water exposes them to greater risks of violence like rape or kidnapping.
Yannick Glemarec, deputy executive director of United Nations Women, says women in so-called developing countries are hit the hardest and are the first to be affected by climate change in every country.
As climate change puts pressure on natural resources, fresh water is becoming scarcer, food prices are increasing and infectious illnesses like the Zika virus are on the rise. Worldwide, women tend to be poorer than their male counterparts and have less representation in policy-making.
We need to focus on women’s leadership development, build finance skills and policy skills and move women to positions of power in government and business. The people most likely to be hurt by climate change are also the ones best positioned to fix it.
Marylee Banyard, Nelson