Quick Read

Impact of climate change on women and girls

Climate change affects us all. However, it does not affect us all equally. The countries least responsible for the increase in CO2, are also the most vulnerable for its effects. 90 percent of the problems caused by climate change are water related, such as drought, flooding and heatwaves. The World Health Organisation expects that every year, the effects of climate change will result in 250.000 deaths due to waterborne diseases.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) as integrated priority

We believe that we should make Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) an integrated priority in climate adaptation approaches, where gender equality and social inclusion are prioritised. We can never achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) without a multi-sector approach to assure no one is left behind.

Women and girls bear the brunt

The greatest risks and vulnerability to climate change are experienced by youth and older adults, disabled people, ethnic, gender and sexual minorities and poor communities. Within these population groups, it are particularly women and girls who bear the brunt. This results in increased gender inequalities and sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).

For example, women and girls will have to walk further to fetch water due to the decreasing availability of safe and clean water. That means that they cannot spend that time on education or economic activities.

Another example is a worldwide increase in child marriage. In Malawi for instance, 1.5 million girls are at risk of getting married before adulthood due to climate change (Global Citizen). When financial resources get scarce, the idea of ‘one mouth less to feed’, and the prospect of dowry make families resort to child marriage as a survival strategy.

Want to know more?

If you want to learn more about what Simavi does in this area please contact our colleague Brechje Oonk.

Brechje Oonk, Public Affairs Officer

Start the conversation

Share this article

Related stories