Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 36 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 8/22/20

Climate change under gender lens

By       (Page 1 of 3 pages)   No comments
Follow Me on Twitter     Message Citizen News Service - CNS
Become a Fan
  (2 fans)

Shobha Shukla - CNS

Climate change impacts women's health
Climate change impacts women's health
(Image by CNS)
  Details   DMCA

Countries in the Asia Pacific region are in the forefront of bearing the onslaught of climate change. During the last three decades 45% of the world's natural disasters have occurred in this region, which is vulnerable to floods, cyclones, earthquakes, droughts, storms and tsunamis.

While climate change affects everyone but impacts of climate change related events are not gender neutral. Women and girls are more vulnerable and disproportionately impacted due to pre-existing gender inequalities that are perpetuated by patriarchal beliefs. These inequalities are exacerbated during the times of disasters.

Biplabi Shrestha, Programme Director at the Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women (ARROW), cites some of the gendered impacts of natural disasters as revealed by numerous studies done by ARROW: "In Bangladesh, even upon receiving early warning sirens women did not immediately seek refuge at cyclone shelters. Instead they stayed back to manage the household and to safeguard their assets and livestock. There is also the added burden within the households and girls drop out of school to help gather energy, food and water for the family. Early age marriage is used as a coping strategy in many poor communities in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Laos and Nepal, despite child marriage being legally banned in them. During any disaster, sexual and other forms of gender-based violence within family increases. Also, women and girls are more exposed to sexual violence in shelter camps. Gender ascribed rules and household food hierarchy systems existing in most communities lead to food insecurity and malnutrition of women and girls. It also prevents women and girls from accessing healthcare services, especially sexual and reproductive health services. As a result, maternal mortality rate goes up, and so do unwanted pregnancies, because of unmet need of contraception and lack of access to safe abortion."

Natural disasters adversely impact maternal health and uptake of family planning services. However two studies conducted by Population Council - one in Cambodia and another in Pakistan - show some very interesting results to the contrary.

A study on the 2013 massive floods in Cambodia, done by Dr Ashish Bajracharya, Deputy Director (global country strategy), Population Council, suggests that floods did not affect maternal health and family planning services uptake and outcomes, perhaps because flooding in Cambodia is endemic. So resilience and adaptation is likely high through years of experience. Also maternal health service seeking behaviours might particularly be inelastic to shocks.

Another study done by Dr Zeba Sathar, Country Director, Population Council, Pakistan, on the impact of 2010 floods in 3 districts of Pakistan found that women's involvement in both agricultural and non-agricultural work increased (as more men migrated in search of work) and they were forced to come out of complete 'purdah'. Their health-seeking behaviour and family planning use also improved in comparison to the dismal baseline figures. This could possibly be linked with greater exposure and access to health services provided by responding organizations.

In fact unmet need for family planning and maternal mortality ratio are two important indicators of the general status of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) across cultures in the region and give the scale of challenge in each country.

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3

(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).

Rate It | View Ratings

Citizen News Service - CNS Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Citizen News Service (CNS) specializes in in-depth and rights-based, health and science journalism. For more information, please contact: or @cns_health or
Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Management of respiratory diseases beyond drugs: Pulmonary Rehabilitation

Oxygen therapy is like a prescription drug: Use it rationally

New funding boosts research for controlling TB, malaria, dengue and leishmaniasis

Progress made but work remains on firewalling health policy from tobacco industry

A bouquet of novel compounds: New treatment options for HIV

World Health Day: No substitute to healthy mind

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend