The climate crisis is not gender neutral.
As its impacts worsen, women and girls are experiencing unique and disproportionate harm—with the fallout amplifying existing gender inequalities. Typically more dependent on natural resources and disproportionately responsible for securing food, water and fuel, women are highly vulnerable to environmental shocks. They face heightened exposure to gender-based violence in the wake of conflict and instability exacerbated by climate change, and they are less likely to survive disasters. At the same time, their access to life-saving resources and to key decision-making spaces remains severely limited.
Nevertheless, women remain at the forefront of the fight against climate change, leading prevention, mitigation and adaptation efforts around the world. Research indicates that women’s representation in national parliaments leads to the adoption of more stringent climate policies, resulting in lower emissions. Their leadership in the workplace is associated with greater transparency around climate impact. And their participation in local natural resource management is linked to better resource governance and conservation outcomes.
This Earth Day the United Nations is highlighting the crucial connections between sustainability and gender equality in policy, business, agriculture and beyond.
In Uganda, climate change risks are increasing agricultural productivity to build resilience
Florence Driciru lives in the refugee host community of Kochi Subcounty in Uganda’s Yumbe District. A farmer and a mother of five, she says she is already feeling the impact of climate change on her livelihood: “The yields have been poor lately. The rains most times come late and when you plant you don’t get much.”
In Uganda, refugees and their host communities are feeling the brunt of worsening climate change. Deforestation and environmental degradation are hitting hard, especially in the refugee hosting districts in the country’s West Nile region. Both refugee and host populations are highly dependent on natural resources in their daily lives, relying on grass and wood for shelter and generating income through farming and the harvesting of forest products.
In 2021, UN Women, with funding from the Government of Japan, partnered with the Yumbe District Local Government to support farmers in the refugee and host communities to improve their farming practices. Florence and other farmers in her community received trainings in climate smart agriculture, as well as better seed varieties—particularly green gram and fruit trees. The group has now planted 25 acres of guavas and mangoes.
“Before this project many of us were used to traditional farming practices without knowing that this leads to poor yields,” Florence explains. “I tried out this new farming method and planted the 500 kgs of green grams that I received from the district local government and I was able to harvest 2,150 kgs. The seed was of good quality and when I applied the methods I learned from the trainings, it led to a good yield.”
In the face of both worsening climate change and growing food demand, climate smart agriculture helps to build resilience among hard hit populations—ensuring both food security and income. For Florence’s community, it is also creating new opportunities for cooperation: “As a group our dream is to establish a grain store,” says Florence. “That way we are able to store the green gram and sell collectively, which enables us to bargain for a better price.”
Source: UN Women