Women Coping with Climate Change

Of the 1.5 billion people living on less than

© UNFPA

Women are the hardest hit by climate change, but more often than not, they are left out of the discussion about how to solve it. So finds the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), an international development agency, in The State of the World Population 2009. Though poor women are least responsible for climate change effects, says UNFPA Executive Director Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, they bear the brunt of those effects—from loss of agriculture due to climate change-driven droughts, to forceful storms and hurricanes that strike coastal regions.

Of the 1.5 billion people living on less than $1 per day, the majority are women, the UNFPA reports. And these same impoverished women are most likely to depend on agriculture for income, and to be vulnerable to climate change-induced floods and storms.

According to an UNFPA release: "Research cited in the report shows that women are more likely than men to die in natural disasters—including those related to extreme weather—with this gap most pronounced where incomes are low and status differences between men and women are high."

The report concludes that the international community must step up its protection of and preparedness for the world's women and girls—boosting education and reducing poverty rates to improve their hopes for survival and success before climate change disaster strikes.

SOURCE: United Nations Population Fund.