Climate Disasters are a Feminist Issue

August 17, 2007 at 8:55 pm (feminism, frightening things, injustice, sexism) (, , )

It didn’t seem like an obvious connection at first to me, either. But here it is:

UNITED NATIONS, Aug 2 (IPS) – When the United Nations concluded a two-day debate Thursday on the potential devastation from climate change, it covered a lot of territory: deforestation, desertification, greenhouse gases, renewable energy sources, biofuels and sustainable development.

But one thing the debate lacked, June Zeitlin executive director of the New York-based Women’s Environment and Development Organisation (WEDO) told IPS, was a gender perspective.

“Women and children are 14 times more likely to die than men are during a disaster,” she said.

In the 2004 Asian Tsunami, 70 to 80 percent of overall deaths were women. And in the 1991 cyclone disasters that killed 140,000 in Bangladesh, 90 percent of victims were women.

And as overwhelming as that information is (a full 14 times more likely?…shit), it makes sense when you take into account that women make up the majority of the poor and rural populations, that they spend the most time on work relating to the care of their homes and families, that they have little political and planning power, and that in places where all of this is especially true and apparent, the risk of real damage due to climate change and disasters is much more pronounced. The communities with the least power are always the hardest hit. So to protect at risk locations, empower women.

Via Red Jenny, which I found through the 43rd Carnival of the Feminists.


1 Comment

  1. Lola Lyndon said,

    Very good points.

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