Climate change intersects with many different areas of social justice, including race, gender and class. Gender equality and feminism in particular have links to climate change and environmental issues, as women are disproportionately affected by climate disasters. This means that gender inequality is worsened by climate change.
The ecofeminist movement centers on the relationship between climate change and gender equality, both of which are the result of the global patriarchal society. By defending the rights of our planet, we are also defending the rights of women.
A recent study found that women and men, while spending roughly the same amount of money, release significantly different amounts of greenhouse gases. This is mainly because men spend more money on gas and fuel, while women buy products that have a much lower carbon footprint. Although they emit 16% less greenhouse gases than men, women are more vulnerable to climate change and its effects.
Women living in poverty are the most vulnerable to the climate crisis. Usually, women in developing countries, such as Kenya and Benin, are responsible for providing water and food for their households, and this process becomes more difficult as climate change worsens. With drought and food shortage expected to worsen in the future, this process will become even more difficult and dangerous for women. As women and girls spend more time trying to find these resources, they have less time for education. This means that the climate crisis will impact the education of women in poor communities.
Women and girls are also more likely to be injured during natural disasters. They are less likely to be notified of impending severe weather, leaving them little time to evacuate. Women also have less access to resources that help them prepare for these emergencies, and after the disaster, they are less likely to receive aid and relief. Since climate change also intensifies social, political and economic problems, violence against women could also be increased.
Gender inequality continues to be a widespread part of our society. Until changes are made to secure women’s rights around the world, women and girls will continue to bear an unfair burden for climate change. They are the most affected by climate change, but there are not many women in power to defend themselves in this area. Women need to be more represented in the political sphere so that climate change and gender equality are taken more seriously. Women and girls need to start getting involved in environmental activism so they can stand up for themselves and stop being neglected.