Women often hit harder by climate change

NOS News

The consequences of climate change often affect women more and differently than men. Recent scientific research found, among other things, that women in developing countries were the most difficult to reach, while western men were the cause of climate change in a medical degree.

Today’s climate summit in Sharm-El-Sheikh focuses on the impact of climate change on women’s lives.

In developing countries, for example, it is more often extremely dry due to climate change. Traditionally, in many countries it has been a job for women to collect water, and the drought has made it more time-consuming and more difficult.

For example, last summer during a heat wave in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, water wells followed empty. Women who perform dangerous antics to fetch water. Images of the world beyond.

“Vulnerable women pay the bill for the behavior of a small group of wealthy men,” says Anouk Creusen, who worked as a researcher at the 75inQ agency on a report by human rights organization ActionAid.

That study shows that women are more than represented in groups most affected by climate change, such as the agricultural sector and the organic sector. It is also a matter of poverty. Seventy percent of the 1.3 billion people living below the poverty line are women.

“It is difficult for women to adapt to the consequences of climate change, because people with smaller grants are not resilient enough,” says Creusen.

While women are overrepresented among the poorest groups, men dominate the top 1 percent of richest people in the world. Researchers see that their behavior and choice patterns have a negative influence.

“Wealthy Western men spend most of their money on comfort, travel and consumption,” Creusen says. “Investing in fossil fuels will increase their wealth and allow them to spend more on behaviors that negatively impact climate change.”

Climate poverty in the Netherlands

ActionAid’s Report mainly looks at the extremes. The poorest group in the global south (roughly the developing countries) suffers from the behavior of the richest Westerners. On a different scale, here in the Netherlands, the lower impacts of the energy transition are getting better and better.

“Dutch statistics often talk about the consumer, of the household., but behind every door there is a different story that we don’t see enough,” says Mariëlle Feenstra of 75inQ. She mainly looked at the situation in the Netherlands and saw that women found it difficult to cope with the high energy prices and are less able to example solar panels. on their roof or insulate their house.

“Women are less likely to be homeowners. As a tenant you depend on a landlord whether your house can be adapted to climate change,” says Feenstra.

If, as a woman with a low income, you take care of a family in a poorly insulated house, it is very difficult to invest in sustainable energy solutions, according to Feenstra.

“If the water is at your fingertips financially, then a tip to put on an extra sweater when your thermostat is already at 16 degrees.”

Not just victim

Researchers move that women are certainly not only victims. Precisely because they are over-represented in the groups that are the impact of climate change, they are also often convincing to do something about it.

During the climate summit, women’s rights organization WECF will award a prize for contributions that contribute to a better climate in which leadership is central. One of the contenders is a project to improve working conditions for cotton pickers – especially women – in Pakistan, who are working under increasingly dangerous conditions due to global warming.

Nevertheless, according to researcher Mariëlle Feenstra, there is much criticism of the underrepresentation of women during the climate summit. “Women are under-represented in places where the mistakes fall. In fact, the more the climate summit, the fewer women are delegated.”


At the 2015 Paris summit, where the main Paris climate accords were signed, only nine percent of the heads of delegation were women. That was a historic low. Researchers point to climate measures that should not only focus on the energy transition, but also on investments in girls and women.

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