Saturday, 7 August 2010

Weather related disasters "affect women more"

With recent events in Pakistan, the relationship between climate change and natural disasters is becoming increasingly prevalent. Climate change affects us globally, however it cannot be forgotten that some suffer more than others....

In particular, it is important to view climate change as a gender 'issue' which has different effects for men and women. According to the Women's Environmental Network (WEN) women make up 70 per cent of the global poor. Weather-related disasters cause displacement, increased poverty, health problems and vulnerability of which women are more susceptible.

The gendered roles of men and women in developing countries mean that women are typically responsible for collecting water and fuel, a task which becomes increasingly difficult after weather-related disasters. As a result of the increased work load and inaccessibility to clean water, women experience severe health risks particularly during pregnancy or old age.

Such disasters and increasing poverty as a result naturally lead to discontent which often manifests itself in the form of conflict and sexual violence, of which women and children predominately pay the price. WEN predicts that 10,000 women are dying each year from weather-related disasters, compared to 4,500 male deaths.

There are two fundamental ways in which we can help those affected by such disasters: to help minimise the impact of climate change and to support those already affected. World In Need has a fair trade website called and in the USA which supports ethical trading and empowers the poor in the Third World.

World In Need also offers the chance to sponsor a child overseas for £20 per month, which helps educate and prepares them to climb out of the poverty trap. You can also sponsor a family for £30 per month, empowering women to feed their families with more security.

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