SCAN Climate Action Awareness Campaign | IWD - Climate Change and Women

SCAN Climate Action Awareness Campaign | IWD – Climate Change and Women

As we gather to commemorate International Women’s Day , let us turn our attention to an issue that profoundly impacts the lives of women across Canada: climate change.

Climate change is not just a distant threat or an abstract concept—it is a reality that affects real people in real ways. And women, in particular, bear a disproportionate burden of its consequences. From health risks to economic challenges, women in Canada keenly feel the impacts of climate change.

For a moment, let us consider the health risks women face due to climate-related factors such as extreme heat events, air pollution, and changes in infectious disease patterns. These factors can have severe implications for women’s reproductive health, potentially leading to disruptions in menstrual cycles and adverse pregnancy outcomes. Moreover, women are more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change-related events such as droughts, floods, and extreme weather events, putting their health, safety, and well-being at risk.

But the impacts of climate change extend beyond health—they also affect women’s economic security. Disruptions to sectors such as agriculture, forestry, and tourism can have a profound impact on women’s livelihoods, particularly for Indigenous women and those in remote or northern regions. Gender disparities in income and employment opportunities can be exacerbated by climate change-induced disruptions, further widening the gap between men and women.

Climate change also impacts food security and water access for women. Changes in temperature and precipitation patterns can affect agricultural productivity and food availability, impacting women’s ability to access nutritious food. Women, especially those in rural and Indigenous communities, play significant roles in food production and preparation, making them particularly vulnerable to disruptions in food systems caused by climate change. Additionally, water availability and quality alterations can affect women’s access to clean water for drinking, sanitation, and hygiene, further exacerbating health risks and increasing workloads.

Moreover, climate change-related events such as floods, wildfires, and sea-level rise can lead to displacement and migration, with women and children often disproportionately affected. Women may face heightened risks of gender-based violence and exploitation during displacement, as well as challenges in accessing essential services and support networks. Indigenous women, in particular, may experience cultural and spiritual distress due to disruptions to traditional ways of life and connections to the land.

But amidst these challenges, there is hope. When we take concrete actions to empower women and build resilience in communities across Canada, we help create a more equitable and sustainable future for all. These actions mean promoting women’s leadership and participation in decision-making processes related to climate adaptation and mitigation. It means ensuring access to resources, education, and support services that enhance women’s resilience and empowerment in the face of environmental challenges. It also means collaborating with Indigenous communities to develop solutions that respect Indigenous knowledge, rights, and sovereignty in addressing the impacts of climate change on women and their communities.

So, as we celebrate International Women’s Day, let us commit to recognizing and addressing the unique challenges women face in the face of climate change. Let us stand together in solidarity and take bold steps towards a future where all women can thrive and prosper regardless of their circumstances.

References

International Women’s Day is March 8. Retrieved on March 7, 2024 fromhttps://www.internationalwomensday.com/

Women as Agents of Change: How Gender Equality Can Drive Environmental Progress Retrieved on March 7, 2024 from https://environbuzz.com/women-as-agents-of-change-how-gender-equality-can-drive-environmental-progress/

Women and Climate Change FINAL.pdf (criaw-icref.ca) Retrieved on March 7, 2024 from https://www.criaw-icref.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Women-and-Climate-Change_FINAL.pdf

Canada announces $67.5 million in funding for projects putting gender equality at heart of climate action Retrieved on March 7, 2024 from https://www.canada.ca/en/global-affairs/news/2022/03/canada-announces-675-million-in-funding-for-projects-putting-gender-equality-at-heart-of-climate-action.html

Gender and climate change Retrieved on March 7, 2024 https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/news/2018/05/gender-and-climate-change.html

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