Looking for blogs that unpack the relationship between gender, human rights and climate breakdown? We’ve got you covered.
As the United Nations says, gender inequality coupled with the climate crisis is one of the greatest challenges of our time. Women and gender minorities are hit harder by the fossil-fuelled climate crisis:
- During extreme weather events, women and gender minorities are more likely to be injured and less likely to survive.
- They have lower incomes and less access to information.
- Those who do survive have limited access to disaster relief.
As Kimberlé Crenshaw explained when she first coined the term intersectionality in 1989, a person may be oppressed and differently impacted by “a combination of interconnected social structures”. These break down into many categories that intersect, such as (but not limited to) race, gender, sexuality and class.
Here are five blogs that delve into the intersectionality around gender and the climate crisis:
Vanessa Nakate on why education for girls is essential for climate justice
In this excerpt from the Ugandan youth climate activist’s book, Nakate stresses the importance of access to education for girls in addressing the climate crisis. She points out that without education girls will never find themselves in decision-making roles and cannot inform the climate interventions that concern them.
Nakate writes: Of course, I care about boys’ education as well, and with two brothers, I have to. But across sub-Saharan Africa, at least 33 million girls who could be in primary and lower secondary school aren’t (equivalent to elementary and middle school and the first two years of high school). More than 50 million girls in the region are missing out on receiving an upper secondary school education (equivalent to the last two years of high school in the US or the sixth form in the UK). Around the world, more than 130 million girls aren’t in school and should be. If they had the chance, how many of these young women could be teachers, lawyers, doctors, NGO staffers, members of parliament, or climate scientists?
I think of it like this: girls and women are more than half the world’s population. If we are to successfully address the climate crisis, we need women in the rooms where decisions are being made that affect the climate (and almost all decisions now do). Educating girls brings them into those rooms, and expands the number and approaches of possible decision-makers and solutions. (Read article)
Lisa Göldner on economic gender inequality and fossil fuels
The exclusion Nakate talks about is already evident in the current status quo, where women and gender minorities are economically disadvantaged by dirty energy industries, says German climate campaigner Göldner – be it unequal pay in comparison to men, or the disproportionate economic impact of rising energy prices on them.
Göldner writes: Inside the inherently patriarchal energy sector, extractive industries like coal, oil and gas traditionally have the lowest percentage of female employees, and even fewer women who reach managerial positions. Wages for female employees in the energy sector are almost 20% lower than for male employees in some European countries. In 2021, the fossil fuel industry had the largest gender pay gap compared to other science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) industries in Australia. And in Canada for example, the extractive industry is allegedly among the largest single drivers of income inequality, contributing to an astonishing 6.7% of the national wage gap.
Economic gender inequality can be expected to grow as a result of the current energy crisis, reversing years of progress, as women are impacted disproportionately by rising energy costs due to their lower average income. While many women and gender minorities, and the people that depend on their income, struggle to make ends meet, the fossil fuel industry is making record-breaking profits. (Read article)
Oliver Meth on how Big Oil perpetuates gender-based violence and femicide
The same way that economic inequality impacts women and gender minorities’ ability to survive extreme weather events unharmed, it impacts on their overall, day-to-day safety. The South African activist highlights the economic impact of environmental pollution on women from low-income communities, which leaves them more vulnerable to gender-based violence (GBV).
Meth writes: Many of the risk factors to gender based violence experienced in Wentworth are aggravated by slow-onset climate events such as the degradation of our air and water. We’ve seen how environmental pollution in the area has accelerated the pre-existing gender inequalities, dispossession, marginalisation and discrimination of girls and womxn in all their diversities. It has caused great risks to womxn and girls’ livelihoods.