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  • Writer's pictureManushya Foundation

Why climate justice matters for ALL women: an intersectional feminist approach!



In a world marked by significant challenges, few issues are as critical as the growing threat of climate change. Its adverse impacts are already visible worldwide, including in Thailand, which ranks among the top 10 countries most vulnerable to the devastating effects of climate change.


The staggering truth about the climate crisis is that it is far from gender-neutral. It's a reality: women are disproportionately impacted by climate change. The solution lies in climate justice—a notion that strives for a fair sharing of the burdens of climate change and its mitigation, along with the responsibilities for tackling it.


Through the prism of intersectional feminism, let’s delve into why climate justice is a fundamental human rights imperative for ALL women.


Climate change’s disproportionate impact on women explained


Climate change doesn't play fair; its impact reveals stark imbalances between genders. In fact, the intertwining of climate change and gender inequity creates a vivid tapestry of injustice. It's a truth etched in stone: women disproportionately bear the weight of climate change's adverse impacts. This fact reflects the systemic inequalities of our society, which are intricately connected to the degree of impact climate change has on different groups of people. As a result, women's roles as caregivers, nurturers, and community pillars tether them intimately to their surroundings, making them especially susceptible to the far-reaching waves of environmental change. Whether through the strain of increased responsibilities in resource-scarce times or the merciless force of natural disasters, women face heightened vulnerability compared to their male counterparts.


The link between intersectionality and climate Inequity


The imbalance in the burdens of climate change is tightly bound to the concept of intersectionality—a lens revealing the intricate weave of social inequalities. Our society is a mosaic of diverse identities, embracing gender, race, color, ethnicity, wealth, disabilities, and more. These facets give rise to disparities that impact marginalized communities, particularly women. And the more these intersecting inequalities overlap, the heavier the burden of adverse climate change impacts. An example lies in the experience of indigenous women in Thailand, standing at the crossroads of gender, ethnicity, and environmental disparities. Their plight encompasses the repercussions of climate change alongside historical marginalization, land loss, and limited involvement in decision-making. The convergence of these inequalities intensifies the burden they endure due to the changing climate.


Here are some examples of the disproportionate impact of climate change on women:


Lack of resources

Scarce resources amplify women's caregiving responsibilities, limiting their access to education and economic opportunities. As droughts and floods escalate, women bear the brunt of these disasters, often without adequate protection or resources to rebuild their lives.


Health risks

The health risks posed by climate change are insidious, especially for women. With changing weather patterns, women's reproductive health is at stake due to increased disease vectors and limited access to healthcare. Pregnant women face heightened vulnerabilities during extreme events, magnifying the urgency for gender-responsive solutions.


Child marriages and subsequent adolescent births

Child marriage finds greater prevalence in arid regions and locales prone to recurring droughts. In such circumstances, families might resort to child marriage to cope with lower agricultural yields, ecosystem productivity losses, higher food prices and economic pressures during dry periods. As a result, adolescent births are higher in those regions.


Migration

As environmental conditions worsen, displacement becomes a tragic reality for many communities. In this tumultuous journey, women face unique challenges – heightened risks of violence, exploitation, and discrimination.


Intensified intimate partner violence

Analysis of extensive data reveals that in scenarios where multiple crises intersect—such as the coexistence of environment-related issues, pandemics, conflicts, and more—women and girls are more inclined to turn to platforms like Google in search of assistance related to violence.


Why Climate justice must be pursued through an intersectional feminist lens:

The effects of climate change are deeply and disparately felt by women and girls, especially those who are vulnerable and reliant on natural resources. Evidence can provide us with an enriched comprehension of the intricate interplay between climate change and gender dynamics, and lead to this conclusion: climate justice and gender justice are inseparable. Therefore, it is critical to address these challenges with an intersectional gender lens in order to leave no woman behind! Seeking climate justice, we must consider ALL women: local women, poor women, indigenous women, LGBTQIA+ women, women with disabilities, women from marginalized ethnic communities, and more. Moreover, as women hold unique knowledge and experience, and particularly local women, their inclusion in policy-making is essential for driving impactful climate action. For instance, in 2019, a study revealed that when women's representation in national parliaments rises, it prompts the adoption of stricter climate change policies, leading to reduced emissions. Similarly, at the grassroots level, women's involvement in natural resource management correlates with improved resource governance and conservation outcomes.


#WeAreManushyan ♾️ Equal Human Beings


✊At Manushya Foundation, our commitment to an intersectional feminist approach is unwavering. We apply a gender lens to our work to ensure that ALL women, particularly from marginalized communities, are at the forefront of climate change mitigation, leaving no one behind. Therefore, Manushya Foundation strongly advocates inclusive decision-making. To achieve this, Manushya amplifies the voices of women and marginalized individuals through education and awareness, enabling them to spearhead transformative change within their communities. We believe women must be placed at the center of policy decision-making, particularly concerning climate change mitigation and the distribution of its burdens. Only this way can we implement gender-responsive solutions to climate change that are adapted to women's needs, fostering a future marked by equity, resilience, and sustainability!





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