Women tackling climate change

Prabhati Devi from Suraj ka Kheda Society, a village in Rajasthan gathers fodder for her buffalo October 27, 2010. Before the constant droughts affected the agriculture, all the family members would stay in her village for work but now they have been forced to migrate to cities for other livelihoods. Out of the 25 families living in the village, 10-15 have already migrated and they leave mainly women and children behind.

As obvious as it sounds, climate change affects us all. Whether it’s reduced rainfall in Australia and Uganda, sea level rises and storm surges in the Pacific, or increasingly severe floods like the ones that covered Pakistan in August 2010, we’re all starting to feel the effects of climate change.

But women in developing countries feel the impacts the most. The fact that women are being disproportionately affected by climate change isn’t immediately obvious, after all, aren’t we all affected by floods or drought? But in many parts of the world it tends to be women who grow the family’s food, fetch fuel and water, and bring up the children, it’s women who are most likely to be in harm’s way when disaster strikes. So when clean water becomes harder to find during a drought, or when crops are destroyed by floods, it’s often up to women to find solutions.

Oxfam is working to raise awareness of the critical role that women play in tackling climate change. And we’re pushing for a much greater response from the international community to ensure that these inequalities are addressed and women are engaged as critical agents of change.

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