On Monday, February 5th, Congresswoman Barbara Lee introduced the Women and Climate Change Act of 2018, H.R. 4932. The act aims “to address the disparate impact of climate change on women and support the efforts of women globally to address climate change and for other purposes”.

“Climate change is already impacting communities around the world, with a disproportionate effect on the world’s poorest residents. Women make up the majority of the world’s poor and are especially vulnerable to abrupt changes in the environment. As leaders in their families, women are called upon to find food and clean water, secure safe housing, and care for loved ones,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee. “As climate change worsens, provoking historic droughts, rising sea levels, and violent storms, women and girls will bear the brunt of this global crisis. My legislation, the Women and Climate Change Act, encourages approaches to climate change mitigation that uplift, include and empower women.”

WEDO understands clearly that climate change is a feminist issue, and that there can be no climate justice without gender justice. Inaction by the United States in addressing climate change affects communities and peoples, especially women, at the frontlines of climate impacts. WEDO is grateful to leaders in the U.S. like Congresswoman Barbara Lee for not only calling for climate action but recognizing this crucial and often overlooked intersection.

This is not the first time Congresswoman Lee has led action on these issues. In 2009,  resolution (H.R. 98), was introduced by Barbara Lee (D-CA), Betty McCollum (D-MN) and Anna Eshoo (D-CA) recognizing the disproportionate impacts of climate change on women and the efforts of women globally to address climate change. The resolution, among other things, encouraged the use of gender-sensitive frameworks in developing policies to address climate change, which account for the specific impacts of climate change on women. Additionally, it affirmed the commitment of Congress to empower women to have a voice in the planning and implementation of strategies to address climate change so that their roles and resources are taken into account.

Furthermore, in 2011, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) introduced Congressional resolution  H.Con.Res. 84  to bring attention to the greater economic, agricultural, and health-related hardships faced by women arising from climate change.

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