Submitted by Andrew Maclean | published 30th Mar 2011 | last updated 17th Mar 2020

Gender and climate change

While climate change affects everyone, it is not gender neutral. It magnifies existing inequalities, reinforcing the disparity between women and men in their vulnerability to climate change, and their capability to cope with it.15 Women, who form the majority of the world’s poor, tend to be more vulnerable to the effects of climate change16 and are being affected in their multiple roles as food producers and providers, as guardians of health, care givers, and economic actors. They are more likely to become direct victims (through death and injuries) of climate-related disasters, such as hurricanes and flooding, because they are less likely to be able to swim, and are more likely to be at home when such events occur.17 Drought, deforestation, and erratic rainfall cause women to work harder to secure resources (such as food, water, and fuel) and mean that women have less time to earn an income, get an education or training, or participate in decision-making processes. Families affected by poverty, many of which are headed by females, often live in more precarious situations: on low, flood-prone lands or on steep slopes.

Source: Introduction to Climate Change Adaptation: A Learning Companion. Oxfam Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation Resources