On January 26, 2020, I was lucky enough to host(ess) a meeting of the Women and the Environment group of Democrats Abroad France.

The three women scientists, experts in their fields, shared their scientific work with the audience in a talk titled: Is Climate Change a Gender Issue? Alyssa Fischer’s work discusses climate and sustainability, focusing on urban climate challenges and the inclusion of equity into climate conversations. Dr. Cara Maesano is a scientist and researcher in environmental epidemiology and exposure science at INSERM/Sorbonne University.  Dana Powers is an environment journalist specializing in renewable energy and chair of the Democrats Abroad France Environment Policy Group. 

So, is climate change a gender issue? Guess what? It is. Poor women are more likely to die than poor men in any crisis.

Here are some key stats:

  • Eighty percent of people displaced by climate change are women.
  • Poor air quality affects unborn babies and women’s lungs more than men’s lungs. Cities, by and large, are planned by men, as only 5% of all mayors around the world are women.
  • Cooking on wood stoves impacts women and children more than men, and even more than if diesel fuel were used.
  • Women have different nutritional needs, and food scarcity and poor-quality fall on them and on children.
  • Transportation issues more negatively impact women, who have to get around with babies and carriages and care for the elderly 

So, there’s a lot of work to do!  Here are some of the resources that discuss gender disparities and climate change:

Climate change 'impacts women more than men', BBC News

Gender Differences in Public Understanding of Climate Change, Yale Program on Climate Change Communication

Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty, by Abhijit V. Banerjee & Esther Duflo, who won this year's Nobel Prize in Economics for this work.

WEDO: Women's Environment and Development Organization:  Excellent resource full of fact sheets, reports, news, case studies, and analysis for use in the "real world" and contextualization

Implementing Equality: Delivering Gender-Equitable Climate Commitments: An interesting discussion from WRI, the #1 environmental think-tank in the US, on the policy implications and efforts by IGOs and international non-profits to tackle these issues at the UN scale.

Project DrawdownThe NGO dedicated to finding solutions to the climate crisis.

Pollution from Fossil-Fuel Combustion is the Leading Environmental Threat to Global Pediatric Health and Equity: Solutions Exist

The Women of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast: Multiple Disadvantages and Key Assets for Recovery