Facts and figures

  • Increased drought and water shortage
    Women and girls in developing countries are often the primary collectors, users and managers of water for family use. Decreases in water availability will therefore jeopardize their families’ livelihoods as well as increase their workloads, and may have secondary effects such as lower school enrolment figures for girls and less opportunity for women to engage in income-generating activities if they spend greater portions of their day managing water in a changing climate.
  • Increased epidemics
    An increase in climate-related disease outbreaks will have very different impacts on women and men, mainly because around the world women have less access to medical services than men. For example, malaria vectors are changing their range due to climate change and, each year, approximately 50 million women living in malaria-endemic countries throughout the world become pregnant – an estimated 10,000 of these women and 200,000 of their infants die as a result of malaria infection during pregnancy. Moreover, women’s workloads increase when they have to spend more time caring for the sick.
  • Loss of species
    Women often rely on crop diversity to accommodate climatic variability, but constant temperature change will reduce agro-biodiversity and traditional medicine options, creating potential impacts on food security and health.
  • Decreased crop production
    Rural women are responsible for half of the world’s food production and produce between 60-80% of the food in most developing countries. In Africa, the share of women affected by climate related crop changes could range from 48% in Burkina Faso to 73% in Congo.

Source: Training Manual on Gender and Climate Change (pdf), IUCN and UNDP (leading agencies), 2009

Main takeaways
  • Women are affected differently and more severely by climate change and its impacts on agriculture, natural disasters, and climate change induced migrations because of social roles, discriminations and poverty;
  • Women are not only victims but also powerful agents of change, and possess specific knowledge and skills to effectively contribute to climate change adaptation and mitigation, but they are largely under-represented in decision-making processes at all levels;
  • Understanding and effectively taking into account the gendered dimension of climate change is key for achieving sustainable development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
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