Climate change poses numerous threats to food security. This is because our food systems are increasingly dependent on the climate; Extreme weather events have already started disrupting our global food systems as a whole. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), food insecurity rates for households with children headed by a single mother (30.3%) and for women living alone (14.7%) are very high. It’s no secret that, globally, women have access to limited resources and face more obstacles to economic participation than their male counterparts.
One study showed that there is a 20 percent increase in childhood survival rates when women controlled the household budget. With greater influence in purchasing and household decision-making, families and communities could benefit from better nutrition, a greater emphasis on education, and improved health. To address the multiple challenges we face by climate change, we need to ensure a transformative just transition away from fossil fuels towards a more prosperous, socially and ecologically just, people-powered renewable energy future. Such a transition needs to ensure that women are not left behind and are ensured meaningful livelihoods in the more ecologically just economy.
Despite women being disproportionately affected by climate change, they play a crucial role in climate change adaptation and mitigation. Women have the knowledge and understanding of what is needed to adapt to changing environmental conditions and to come up with practical solutions. But they are still largely facing lack of resource; restricted land rights, lack of access to financial resources, training and technology, and limited access to political decision-making spheres which often prevent them from playing a full role in tackling climate change and other environmental challenges.
Gender equality does not just benefit women and their families — it positively impacts entire communities and the planet. When women are empowered, men have more career opportunities within jobs that have been stereotypically gendered. Providing equal opportunities for women also makes humanitarian aid more effective, and when women have the right to vote, spending on child welfare and public health increases. In countries where women are among the top decision-makers in legislatures, income inequality and corruption are lower, according to Women Deliver.
Unleashing the knowledge and capability of women represents an important opportunity to craft an effective climate change solutions for the benefit of all. Climate change represents the most complex challenge of our time – it requires a holistic response. Evidence shows that women’s empowerment and advancing gender equality can deliver results across a variety of sectors, including food and economic security and health. It can also lead to more environmentally friendly decision making at household and national levels.
The effects of climate change are already evident .We need to find unique methods to mitigate disasters when they strike, and develop ways to reduce the impacts of hazards on livelihoods. Climate change influences the global food system in such a way that those who already suffer from hunger and undernutrition are those most vulnerable to multiple threats. In order to end hunger and gender inequality we need to tackle the current climate crisis, particularly the topic of climate justice and the inequities raised by climate change.