WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO) and the Sierra Club released a new report, Gender and Climate Change in the United States: A Reading of Existing Research, a first-of-its-kind comprehensive gender review of scientific literature in the U.S. Through careful analysis of existing literature, the report details how gender shapes experiences with the climate crisis through the themes of human health, extreme weather events, employment in climate-affected sectors, and public knowledge and perception of environmental issues. In sum, the report underscores that as we begin to craft climate policy in the face of the climate crisis, gender and a comprehensive gender analysis matters.
It has been well-established that the climate crisis amplifies existing inequities and disproportionately harms women around the world. From the experience of mobility and displacement during Hurricane Katrina for LGBTQIA+ people, to an analysis of reproductive health risks for pregnant people living near fossil fuel and toxic sites, to the pervasive dominance of men in emerging energy industries, our new report explores what role gender plays in how people are affected by and adapt to the climate crisis in the U.S.
Some selected findings from the report include:
- Women make up only 19% of people interviewed, featured, or quoted in climate-related news coverage
- Men represent approximately 72% of workers in energy and fuels production. This includes workers in fields adversely affected by decarbonization efforts, such as coal, natural gas, and petroleum, as well as sectors benefiting from decarbonization, including wind and solar.
- Women are more likely than men to need to visit the ER for asthma- and respiratory-related conditions during wildfires
- Experiencing extreme weather events is associated with greater risks of low birth weight and preterm births
“As momentum continues to grow for a more comprehensive national climate policy and progressive platforms like a Green New Deal, the findings from this report will be critical for ensuring women’s human rights and a gender analysis are central to these policies,” said Bridget Burns, Director of WEDO.
“We believe that no matter one’s gender, we all deserve access to clean air, clean water, and a safe and healthy environment,” said A.Tianna Scozzaro, Director of the Sierra Club’s Gender Equity and Environment Program. “Unfortunately, this data shows that certain communities are affected more than others by environmental harm. That’s not right, and new policies need to address these differences.”
This report highlights important information from existing research, but additional research is needed to more fully understand how different individuals will experience the effects of the climate crisis.
Read our blog on the report here.
Read our report here.
The Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO), founded in 1990, is a global women’s advocacy organization, working for a just world that promotes and protects human rights, gender equality, and the integrity of the environment. WEDO’s headquarters is located in New York. Visit us at www.wedo.org.
About the Sierra Club
The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3.5 million members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person’s right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.