Climate Change

Climate change is likely to exacerbate both natural disasters and conflict over natural resources at all levels.  Disasters do not strike evenly by social class or gender. However, it is well established that the poor are more exposed to environmental and other disasters, and also more vulnerable to them when they occur.

They are more likely to live in disaster-prone areas, in vulnerable, badly built and badly sited housing, and with few resources to pay for rescue or rehabilitation. Anyone who is located (socially and/or spatially) 'out of the loop' of information supplied by early warning systems is likely to suffer more from disasters. In some countries, these individuals are more likely to be women than men.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has developed gender guidelines for emergency preparedness. These include key questions to be asked in an emergency situation to help ensure that emergency interventions will be sensitive to gender differences (FAO 2001). Several other disaster-relief NGOs, including OXFAM, have done similar work.

Through better access to technologies and credit, women have been more likely to increase efficiency in their use of renewable energy and to mitigate climate change. More secure access to resources from forests and protected areas has resulted in lower rates of deforestation and preservation of carbon sinks.


GEO Year Book 2004/05  - Environmental Disasters

IUCN – Gender and Environment
Lorena Aguilar Revelo, UICN. 2004. Fact sheets about the linkages of the gender equity approach in climate change and disaster mitigation initiatives, supported in lessons learned in international initiatives.

Gendercc - Women for Climate Justice
Gendercc is the global network of women and gender activists and experts from all world regions working for gender and climate justice. Extensive background information on gender and climate change issues, campaigns and networks and many more resources.

Further Resources

International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP)
Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO)
Sustainable Energy and Environment Division (SEED) of the United Nations Development Programme
Gender and Climate Exchange
Gender- a Forgotten Element