Is Climate Change a Feminist Issue?

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Yes, according to a report released yesterday by the United Nations Population Fund. “Women—particularly those in poor countries—will be affected differently than men,” the report states. In developing countries, the report goes on to explain, erratic weather is increasing floods and droughts which “…increases the burden for women and girls, as they are the ones expected to ensure that there is enough food for the family.” Women produce 60 to 80 percent of food in most developing nations, a task made increasingly difficult by climate change.

Aside from food production and acquisition, women in poor countries in general have fewer material resources and income-earning opportunities, more child-rearing duties, and they are less likely to survive natural disasters like tsunamis and floods than men. But as women may disproportionately suffer the effects of climate change, they may also be part of the solution. The report’s authors suggest that wide access to contraception and reproductive health services for women in poor nations may do more to reduce climate change than any legislative action. (As we’ve reported before, children are CO2-heavy investments.) Additionally, women are “more likely than men to buy ‘green’ products” and are “less likely than men to trust governments and corporations to solve environmental problems.”

So why doesn’t gender enter into climate change discussions more often? Well, the report admits, probably partly because only seven of the world’s 150 elected national representatives are female, and female scientists make up only 15% at most of the authors of IPCC’s climate assessment reports. In the entire 2007 IPCC report, only half a page was devoted to gender issues. That may change in the future as organizations like Oxfam bring attention to the issue, and as governmental bodies establish panels to research the effects of climate change on women specifically. Last year, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) established a gender coordinator to help ensure gender issues are considered by UNFCCC programs, and this year the International Union for Conservation of Nature has said that it hopes to bring gender issues to Copenhagen. Here’s hoping for real accomplishments at Copenhagen, before it’s too late for everyone, male and female.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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