Mahatma Gandhi Community Forum

Gender and Climate Change by Prof. Vibhuti Patel

Subject:Women Studies/Gender Studies Paper: Women and economics
Economics of Gender and Development sees a connection between the exploitation and degradation of the natural world and the subordination and oppression of women. Gender Concerns in Climate Change need serious attention of all interested in sustainable development. Women in many developing countries are responsible for climatically sensitive tasks such as securing food, water and energy which ensure the life and well-being of the households. The effects of climate change have been droughts, floods, coastal erosion, sea level rise and rising temperatures. Devastating impact of climate change puts greater pressure on women to shoulder the adverse consequences on the households.
Women have to face double challenges when faced with climate change as they are at the receiving end and at the same time saviors of survival needs and nurturers. Women often have unequal access to information and resources, and are under-represented in decision-making which makes them even more vulnerable to natural disasters and extreme weather events. Despite women’s vulnerabilities, women’s knowledge and social practices could be used to build community resilience if women were included in adaptation and mitigation efforts. For this to happen we need to train our decision makers to identify strategic gender needs and practical gender needs in the matter concerning climate change and sustainable development.
Ecofeminism emerged in the mid-1970s alongside second-wave feminism and the green movement. Ecofeminism brings together elements of the feminist and green movements, while at the same time offering a challenge to both. It takes from the green movement concern about the impact of human activities on the non-human world, and from feminism the view of humanity as gendered in ways that subordinate, exploit and oppress women. It is both an activist and academic movement which sees critical connections between the domination of nature and the exploitation of women. Ecofeminist activism grew during the 1980s and 1990s among women from the anti-nuclear, environmental and women’s rights movements.

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