Natural disasters increase gender discrimination

by | Mar 1, 2023 | News | 0 Comments

Study on the impact of environmental disasters reveals that women suffer the most 


Extreme weather events are becoming increasingly common around the world. In Brazil, the heavy rains that hit the northern coast of São Paulo in February of this year left more than 60 people dead and at least 2,400 homeless. Scientific forecasts suggest that the frequency and intensity of major storms like these will increase. Data from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report warns that humanity is facing a climate emergency caused by global warming.

This scenario is even more unfavorable for women, since they are the group that suffers most from the impacts of environmental disasters. A study published in the scientific journal China Economic Quarterly International reveals that after a climate disaster, gender inequalities increase in the affected region. Conducted by Rubiang Liang, a professor of economics at Xiamen University, the study "Natural Disaster and Cultural Formation: A Study of the Yellow River Flood Region"reveals that men's physical strength is valued in places hit by natural disasters, reinforcing the culture that keeps women in the domestic space and responsible for unpaid tasks such as caring.

The situation becomes clear when it comes to the job market: according to the study, the number of vacancies held by women is 21% lower in regions affected by flooding. Physiological issues also appear as a social and economic disadvantage for women in disaster situations. Menstruation, pregnancy and breastfeeding, for example, make women even more vulnerable after a climate disaster. Rates of physical aggression and sexual violence against women also increase in shelters for displaced people.

Agents of transformation

But while women are the most impacted group, they are also the solution to climate challenges. The 27th UN Climate Conference (COP 27) pointed out that women's participation is essential to achieving the sustainable development goals.

Amalia Fischer, Director General of the ELAS+ Giving for changeand Shinji Carvalho, the organization's Program Analyst, believe that women's leadership and Leadership are the key to stopping global warming. "We need to bet on the possibility of change that is responsible in terms of gender, race, class and the environment. And this change must be led by women," says Shinji.

For Amalia, who co-founded the first Brazilian fund to invest exclusively in women and transgender people, there is no climate justice without gender equity. "Social movements and especially women's organizations have resisted more than 21 centuries of patriarchy. Indigenous, black and quilombola women have accumulated knowledge over 300 years of confronting colonialism and necropolitics. Women, in every position they hold and role they take on, have shown themselves to be strategic and resilient to the environment," she concludes.