Issue 2: Women are disproportionately affected by climate change

There’s a growing focus on women, gender equality, and climate change. The United Nations (UN) has been at the forefront of including and empowering women internationally when addressing mitigation and adaptation initiatives for climate change. UN found that women face greater risks and burdens from climate change impacts.

As Canadians with significant influence on the global stage, we have a responsibility to assist in improving the quality of life, and mitigating the impacts of climate change for women around the world.

Extreme Weather Events

  • Women in rural communities are affected most by environmental problems due to the need to complete domestic tasks
    • Lingering impacts on women in rural communities
    • Ranging from the increased difficulty to completing daily tasks to increased costs in goods
  • Notably, when a natural disaster occurs, consequences persist long after with increases in cases of sexual and gender-based violence.
  • Women in the Global South because of the adverse impact on infrastructure and supply of food
    • Results in higher food and health care costs

Reliance on the natural environment (Agriculture & Water)

  • The disproportionate impacts of climate change are felt more strongly in the Global South
    • Women produce much of agricultural yields
    • Responsible for tasks that are increasingly difficult in a warmer climate
  • With climate change, women become more vulnerable as extreme weather events, droughts, and changing weather patterns will affect the daily lives of many women in the Global South

Women as change agents for climate change

  • Empowering women to reach highly influential roles, particularly within government, is likely to facilitate the commitment of governments to combat climate change
  • In a study of 130 countries, it was found when women are in government positions, countries are more likely to sign on to international treaties to take action against climate change

Key Stakeholders

Who is affected?

  • Women, particularly in rural areas in the Global South
  • Rural communities and communities that have a greater dependency on the land
  • Indigenous communities

Who can make change?

What are the political parties saying?

Party Platforms and Positions:

  • No political policies or platforms discussed women, gender equality, and climate change in the 2015 federal election

Provincial/Territorial Parties

What is being done now?

  • The federal government focuses on helping to achieve gender equality internationally and committing to mitigating impacts of climate change.
  • The Government of Canada has included the following priorities for the Minister of International Development in relation to climate change:
    • Supporting the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, a global set of development goals adopted by the United Nations in 2015
    • In collaboration with the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and the Minister of Finance, providing assistance to countries that are vulnerable to the destabilizing affects of climate change, including through climate finance
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