How Climate Change Impacts Women

Women are disproportionately affected by climate change all over the world—including in the United States.

The following is a transcript of the video.

Kim Knowlton, senior scientist and deputy director of NRDC’s Science Center: Some people might not be aware that climate change and its effects really impact women especially hard.

Perrin Ireland, science reporter at NRDC: Women are disproportionately experiencing more poverty than men worldwide. They have access to less financial independence. They're also less able to bounce back in terms of jobs and training opportunities after climate disasters.

New Orleans is a helpful place for us to look to understand the realities of climate change impacts on the ground,

Eighty‑three percent of single mothers were unable to return home after Hurricane Katrina for a full two years after the storm. It's estimated that two‑thirds of jobs lost after Hurricane Katrina were lost by women.

After a disaster, often the best and only jobs available are in construction and rebuilding efforts, which are traditionally male‑dominated fields.

Kim: While all of us are affected by climate change, some people are more vulnerable, and that includes women and kids. Take heat waves. Those are being fueled by climate change.

Children spend more time outdoors playing. They're more vulnerable, more susceptible to heat‑related illness. Pregnant women, they and their fetuses—their babies‑to‑be—are at risk for low birth weight.

Climate change is affecting the range of insects that can carry diseases and also the period of time that they're active. It's making the range and that season bigger and lasts longer, and that puts women, children, and older people at greater risk.

While women are great at connecting the dots between climate change and its effects on health, we, right now, are largely left out of the leadership globally to make a change in the way we get energy and moving toward a clean future.

That has got to change. There's got to be more equity.

Perrin: In a study of 130 countries, it was found that when women are in government positions, they're more likely to sign on to international treaties that are taking action against climate change.

Women play critical roles in our communities, and our voices must be heard for climate action. In order to have a resilient future, for the thriving of our communities, women must have a seat at the table.

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