by Elysia Luo, WEDO Global Governance Intern
NEW YORK (May 29, 2013)– Climate change impacts affect all of us and, as recognized in countless research, case studies and policies at national and international level, these impacts exacerbate already existing gender inequalities. Earlier this May, we were pleased to see a Congressional resolution introduced by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.)- a notable champion on women’s rights and climate change in the U.S> Congress- and 11 other House Democrats “recognizing the disparate impact of climate change on women and the efforts of women globally to address climate change.”
Sadly, some media outlets have portrayed this resolution as a joke, focusing in on sections of the document which address women’s sexual and reproductive health, stating: “food insecure women with limited socioeconomic resources may be vulnerable to situations such as sex work, transactional sex, and early marriage that put them at risk for HIV, STIs, unplanned pregnancy, and poor reproductive health”.
In response, Rep. Barbara Lee stated, “It’s unfortunate that this resolution has been misrepresented as to its goals,” Lee told the Los Angeles Times via email. “Tragically, as women across the world are pushed to the margins, they become more vulnerable. And we’ve seen time after time that women on the edge are forced to make heartbreaking choices, this among them.”
Her statement was later supported by several media posts. Grist called out to the Wall Street Journal to understand the real resolution, “The resolution lists many other threats and goes on to encourage the president to ‘integrate a gender approach in all policies and programs in the United States that are globally related to climate change’ and to ‘ensure that those policies and programs support women globally to prepare for, build resilience for, and adapt to climate change’.”
The Huffington Post also covered the resolution stating, “The resolution, introduced to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, is focused on not just any women, but on the world’s poorest women — those in developing nations with limited access to food, water and other necessities. The committee hasn’t indicated whether it will advance the resolution, which, it should be noted, has no material effect on U.S. policies.”
You can read the language of this Congressional resolution here. This week, Population Action International (PAI) and Sierra Club have co-led on an action alert as below. Please share this information with your friends on Twitter and tell your member of Congress to support the Women’s Climate Change Resolution.
Climate change impacts, such as floods, droughts, and extreme weather, affect us all. And as the primary providers of food, water and resources for their families, women not only feel this burden the most, but are key leaders in efforts to prepare and adapt.
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) just re-introduced a resolution in Congress which recognizes the disproportionate impact that climate change has on women. Unfortunately, conservatives have attacked the resolution, and the media’s response hasn’t been any better. But women from all over the world, who face these problems daily, are speaking up. Will you add your voice?
We need to act swiftly and seize this opportunity for women’s voices to be heard in the climate change discussion. This resolution can help ensure climate policies adequately address women’s needs, and incorporate their voices in the design and implementation of strategies to combat climate change.
Thanks for all you do for the women and the environment.
A. Tianna Scozzaro
Climate and Population Associate
Population Action International