Did you know that 4 million people die each year prematurely because of household-related air pollution? Another 18 million people were displaced from their homes because of disasters that are related to climate change annually.
One of the reasons why we face so many challenges with climate change is the lack of equality that countries have to clean fuel technologies. Almost half of the world’s population is still heavily reliant on coal, charcoal, and wood to meet their needs.
What can we do to inspire change in this area? The first step is to start empowering women. Only 35% of the environmental sector ministries currently have a gender focal point to their efforts. That means we are spending over $120 billion in needless healthcare costs because societies are choosing to discard the innovation that women offer.
What Happens When the World Invests in Women?
According to information from Women Deliver, investing in women and girls creates a ripple effect in every society that yields multiple benefits. Families, communities, and entire countries see growth when gender-specific roles are cast aside for greater equality.
Countries with higher levels of parliamentary representation from women are more likely to embrace environmental legislation and international treaties on climate change.
When women have secure rights and access to land and property, then they are more likely than men to use their resources sustainably. That means their efforts work to mitigate climate change while creating sufficient food supplies, cleaner air, and safer water to drink.
The best way to make these investments is to develop policies that recognize the gender-sensitive impacts that happen when women don’t have artificial shackles placed on their activities. Giving them opportunities to participate in adaptation processes creates more resources for everyone.
Why Does Climate Change Improve When Women Get Involved?
Although women don’t hold equal rights in many countries, most societies rely on them for agricultural products. This structure is quite apparent in sub-Saharan African and some countries in Asia. Food production is in the hands of women, which means they are often the first to experience the impact of climate change.
Repetitive floods and droughts make the chores they perform needlessly difficult. When women are less efficient at what they provide, then food insecurity for their family grows.
Natural resources continue to grow scarcer because of deforestation, extreme climate episodes, and inefficiencies in distribution systems. That means women are traveling further to find what they need, putting their physical health and overall safety at risk.
A woman in Senegal today spends almost 20 hours each week to collect water.
Over 70% of the people around the world living on the equivalent of $1 per day or less are women. Since they rarely own the land in these areas, it is almost impossible for them to exercise their rights.
That means now is the perfect time to start empowering women all over the world. Fight for their rights as if they were yours to win. Then we can implement everyone’s ideas to preserve our planet for the next generation.