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EDITORIAL ANALYSIS : Emerging countries need women-led climate action


Source: The Hindu


  • Prelims: Current events of international importance, G20, Global south, UNFPA, SDG, ILO etc.
  • Mains GS Paper II & III: Bilateral, regional and global grouping and agreements involving India or affecting India’s interests.



  • An International Labour Organization study (2019) said: In 2030, 2.2(two point two)percent of total working hours worldwide will be lost to high temperatures, a productivity loss equivalent to 80 million full-time jobs”.
  • The United Nations (2009) highlighted that across genders, women are considered to be highly vulnerable and disproportionately affected by climate change than men to the impact of climate change.
  • Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2021: Gender equality and environmental goals are mutually reinforcing and create a virtuous circle that will help accelerate the achievement of the SDGs



Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs):

  • The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals, were adopted by the United Nations in 2015.
  • A universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that by 2030 all people enjoy peace and prosperity.
  • It is a set of 17 SDGs which recognize that action in one area will affect outcomes in others and that development must balance social, economic, and environmental sustainability.
  • Countries have committed to prioritizing progress for those who are furthest behind.
  • The SDGs are designed to end poverty, hunger, AIDS, and discrimination against women.
  • The SDGs framework sets targets for 231 unique indicators across 17 SDG goals related to economic development, social welfare and environmental sustainability, to be met by 2030.
  • The United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: It consists of 17 Goals and 169 targets as a plan of action for ‘people’, ‘the planet’, and ‘prosperity’.
  • The resolution specifies mechanisms for the monitoring, review, and reporting of progress as a measure of accountability towards the people.
  • Member-states submit a Voluntary National Review (VNR) to the UN’s High Level Political Forum (HLPF)
  • VLRs is a means for driving and reporting local implementation of SDGs at the sub-national and city levels.


Effects of climate change:

  • They vary according to
    • location
    • socioeconomic status
    • gender


Role of women and Impact of climate change on women:

  • Women across the world face severe risks to their health, safety, and quality of life.
  • Women in developing and less developed countries (especially in low-income areas) are more vulnerable to climate change
    • because of their dependence on natural resources and labour-intensive work for their livelihood.
  • Women are more likely to live in poverty than men, which is just one of several social, economic, and cultural variables that makes them more susceptible to the effects of climate change.
  • Women from low-income households are more at risk because they are more responsible for food, water, and other homely unpaid work.
  • Due to the climate crisis, more time and effort are needed to obtain basic necessities.
  • Rural women often shoulder the burden of ensuring access to clean water, adequate cooking fuel, and nutritious food for their families.
  • Women may be at increased risk for health and safety because they must travel long distances every day to collect water and fuel.
  • Women in low-income countries (predominantly South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa) engage in climate-vulnerable occupations such as farming and other labour-intensive work.
  • According to the ILO: 60% of working women in southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa are still in agriculture, where they are often underpaid and overworked.
  • Women own only about 10% of the land used for farming.
  • A McAllister (2023) study has highlighted that there could be 2(one point two)billion climate refugees by 2050.
  • According to a UN study, most (80%) of those displaced by climate-related disasters are women and girls.
  • Women, especially those from vulnerable communities, face particular difficulties during and after natural disasters.
  • When women are uprooted, they are more susceptible to prejudice and exploitation.
    • For instance, after the earthquake in Nepal in 2015, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) found women were more exposed to trafficking and exploitation.
  • Gender-specific issues women face:
    • Separation from social networks(higher risk of gender-based violence
    • Decreased access to employment, education, and essential health services, such as sexual and reproductive health care and psychosocial support.
  • Women make up a large portion of the agricultural workforce in emerging countries: Climate change impacts agricultural productivity negatively and significantly.
    • Heat stress affects workers a lot in this sector, especially in South Asia and Africa.
  • Women engaged in agriculture do not have access to quality inputs and possess low education and technical knowledge.
    • Women farmers and labourers are vulnerable and seriously impacted.
  • Various studies reflect how flooding has increased water scarcity and also violence against and the exploitation of women.


Best Practices for the effective involvement of women in climate change plans:

  • Charlot Magayi is assisting Kenyan women in switching from filthy cook burners to clean ones.
    • In addition to enhancing community health outcomes, this lowers greenhouse gas emissions.
  • An African programme run by women called Solar Sister assists localities in creating small-scale solar systems so they can become energy independent.
    • These grids also lower greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.
  • In laboratories and research departments all over Africa, female scientists are bridging gender gaps by contributing first-hand knowledge of local conditions and agriculture.
  • Gender and Climate Change Development Programme(Programme in South Asia): which aims to increase women’s influence in policy making by providing them with a stronger voice.
  • In India, the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) teaches women farmers how to respond to shifting climate patterns to support themselves better financially.


Way Forward

  • Investments in women’s education, training, and access to resources are essential if we are to be resilient to the impact of climate change.
  • Reduce the negative impacts of climate change on people’s living standards by
    • Teaching them how to practice sustainable agriculture, water management, and energy generation.
    • For example, in India, the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) teaches women farmers how to respond to shifting climate patterns to support themselves better financially.
  • It is essential to support groups that educate the public, train people to adapt to climate change and invest in women’s education and training in environmentally-friendly farming methods.
  • Women’s participation in climate policy decision-making at all levels is crucial for effective climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies as well as getting decent employment.
    • As women face greater risks in climate change, gender parity in decision-making bodies is essential.
    • Gender and Climate Change Development Programme(Programme in South Asia): which aims to increase women’s influence in policy making by providing them with a stronger voice.
    • Globally, similar efforts are required for efficient climate change adaptation and mitigation.
  • Developing and emerging countries urgently need women-led climate action.



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