Women and children severely affected by climate change, but absent from politics

  • Women are the hardest hit by seasonal disasters caused by climate change. Despite the global evidence, our country’s climate policies are not sensitive to these.
  • Climate change increases migration. In this situation, the responsibility of the home and agriculture increases on women. Their workload increases tremendously. In areas facing disasters such as floods, there is a danger of trafficking in women and children in these areas.
  • Experts advise that climate policies should be reviewed from the perspective of men. In this way they talk about keeping in mind the needs of the marginalized.

Evidence shows that as climate-related problems increase rapidly, so do the burdens on women and children. However, there is still a lack of policies that show sensitivity towards women and children. Especially when it comes to policies to address climate change.

Speaking to Mongabe-India on the issue, Padma Venkataraman, president of the Indian Women’s Association, says the “lack of understanding” is at the root of climate policies that are not gender sensitive. The Indian Women’s Association, in partnership with Gender-CC, manages the Women for Climate Justice project under GUCCI (Gender in Urban Climate Change Initiative). Make climate policies more gender sensitive. “During one of the workshops with policy makers and government officials to examine social and gender issues, many officials agreed that they never thought about how weather disasters affected women even more. Eh.”

Venkataraman said he is analyzing the current policies that are part of this project. To achieve this, meetings are being held with the associated people and workshops are being organized. The impacts of climate change adaptation and mitigation are being assessed from a gender perspective. On this basis, policy recommendations will be presented to the government.

In addition, she adds that such an initiative has been taken by the Mumbai, Calcutta and Delhi branches of the Indian Women’s Association. “In Chennai, we are creating new skills among women in the fishing community. In which they are told how to use technology and how chemicals and plastics are harmful to the ocean and its people.

People of different genders express their views on the growing incidence of climate change in different ways. Image – Oxfam / Flickr

People of different genders have expressed their views on the growing incidence of climate change in different ways. ActionAid’s Debabrata Patra noted that when Cyclone Fani devastated Odisha in 2019, it was found that “the women arrived last at the shelters during the Cyclone and were the first to leave.” While according to the protocol, children and women should be taken to safe places first. Padma Venkataraman said that when the tsunami caused great devastation in 2004, most of the men fled to safer places at that time. Women dared to return to carry their children and essential valuables and risked their lives.

Experts specifically stress that women’s responses to disasters are different from those of men. This must be taken into account when formulating adaptation policies.

Migration due to climate disaster increases the burden on women

In Odisha, it is mainly women who run the home in the coastal villages, as most men in the 20-45 age group have emigrated to the cities to work. The increase in soil salinity, frequent cyclones and floods, has made agriculture a challenge for the people there. As stated above, when men go elsewhere to work, then the whole burden of the household falls on the women. In this situation, they do any work to care for children, the elderly and their camps so that the source of income continues.

A recent report by the Climate Action Network South Asia (CANSA) on displacement and migration due to climate change in India suggests that by 2050, 45 million people will be forced to emigrate to the country. The reason for this will be climate-related disasters, a figure that will be three times higher than the current figure.

“Certainly, climate change is leading to devastation and displacement. This migration is a heavy burden for women, “the report says, adding that women have to work an additional 12 to 14 hours. Including agricultural and domestic chores. The report also says that has found “feminization of agriculture” in all of the researchers ’studies.

Favorable policies for the population

Jyoti Parikh, director of Integrated Research and Action for Development (IRADe), in one of her research articles – Is Climate Change a Gender Issue, highlighted the burden that weighs on women due to inconsistent climate change. She has suggested that the government develop a strategy that increases women’s access to and control over natural resources.

“While the understanding and participation of women has been critical to the survival of the entire community in the event of a disaster, the government must recognize their special skills in livelihood management in mitigation and adaptation measures.” , he said.

Only 40 percent of high-risk people are countries that mention children and youth in their nationally determined contributions (NDCs).  photo- paul / pixahive
Only 40 percent of those at high risk are countries that mention children and youth in their nationally determined contributions (NDCs). photo – paul / pixahive

Bidhubhushan Mohapatra, of the Population Council, noted that climate policies should not be limited to a solution-centered approach, but should take a population-centered approach. “This solution-oriented approach does not take into account population structure, mobility, social problems associated with any community or the risks faced by the most needy sectors of society,” he said. “Now is the perfect time for researchers to investigate the social consequences, and our policymakers take them into account and take them into account when planning strategies.”

Mohapatra further said population-centered research examines the growing threats to women and children. For example, especially in a climatic zone where people face calamitous weather, these places can turn out to be safe havens for trafficking in women and children.

Grassroots organizations point out that natural disasters, such as annual floods, put the lives of women and children in serious trouble. This facilitates the path of their smuggling.

Children are also at risk

A UNICEF report published in 2021 cites the Child Climate Risk Index (CCRI), which is based on the impact of natural disasters such as cyclones, floods and droughts on children. The report ranks India in the 7.4 Child Climate Risk Index (CCRI), which is extremely vulnerable to these disasters.

The report states that any disaster takes children away from essential services such as health, nutrition, education and social security. In difficult times, all of these facilities reach children sooner or later. These children who are already helpless by their influence, are now becoming more helpless. However, it says, “Only 40 percent of those at high risk are countries that have mentioned children and youth to their nationally determined contributions (NDCs).” India is not one of the countries to mention.


Read more: [वीडियो] There is not even talk of women facing the weight of mining.


In addition, according to the latest Save the Children research, babies born the year before are two to seven times more likely to be exposed to catastrophic weather events than their grandparents. This means they will have to deal with much more heat, drought, crop failures and terrible forest fires than their grandparents. However, efforts are being made to address many of these challenges.

The Assam State Action Plan on Climate Change (2015-2020), under Urban Health Strategies, is conducting a study to assess the relationship between climate change and malnutrition, especially in children . So that any kind of connection between these two can be understood. Assam is one of the states in all the Himalayan regions of India that is most vulnerable to climate change.

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photo banner: A woman is standing next to a damaged road after Cyclone Yas in West Bengal. There is enough global evidence to show that women are more affected by climate change. Image: Sumita Roy Dutta / Wikimedia Commons

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