Women Bear the Brunt of Climate Change
Climate change is a global phenomenon. It’s inflicting damage on communities from Asia to Latin America, and everywhere in between, but it’s important to remember that climate change does not affect everyone equally. Those who are the most affected are usually the poorest and most disempowered, people living on marginal tracks of land with little to no emergency resources.
In the most recent edition of Ms. Magazine (Winter 2015), Barbara Kingsolver points out that women who are often the hardest hit by global climate change. When climate change degrades farmland by increasing the frequency of coastal flooding in Bangladesh, by melting the glaciers that irrigate highland fields in Peru, or by increasing the severity of droughts, women are the most affected. That’s because “women are not just the farmers of the developing world but also, almost universally, the primary water carriers.” When climate change makes agriculture impossible, women usually have far fewer opportunities for wage labor than men, and they receive far lower wages than men for the same amount of work.
While overwhelmingly the consequences of climate change fall on women’s shoulders to bear, women are also many of the most influential leaders of the global movement for climate justice. It’s women healthcare workers who are providing the primary health services to flooded communities in coastal Bangladesh. Crews of women laborers in Kenya are building the dams, wells, and holding tanks that are preventing the desertification of their farmlands.
We find inspiration in stories like these, and here at the Second Chance Foundation we support women farmers in India because we believe that they will be catalysts for the worldwide revolution in small-scale, sustainable agriculture.