Understanding the Unique Effect of Climate Change on Women

March 31, 2015
Today marks the last day of Women’s History Month! We’ve spent this month lobbying for the Violence Against Women Act at our L’Taken Social Justice Seminars, remembering the women of the civil rights movement during the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, and advocating for reproductive rights. As this month comes to a close, let’s not forget about gender inequity, but continue to highlight how gender plays a role in all forms of inequality and injustice. Women’s history does not just extended to conversations about reproductive health, violence against women and civil rights, but also to issues surrounding the environment and climate change. We have written before about how climate change disproportionately effects the poor and people of color. These groups of people are more likely to be vulnerable to the impacts of climate change like extreme weather events and food shortages due to droughts, floods and decreased crop viability. In much the same way, women, specifically in poor and rural areas across the globe, are already bearing the burden of the worst effects of climate change. In many communities, women are responsible for securing food and water, tasks made increasingly difficult as resources dwindle. The United Nations has made a gender analysis of sustainable development initiatives a priority for their climate work. In particular, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) has emphasized this intersectional issue and included gender equity in climate change adaptation and mitigation in developing countries as a key element of the Green Climate Fund. The Fund, intended to help poor and developing countries handle climate change, is tasked specifically with ensuring that women are not left with an unequal burden because of climate-related issues in their communities. You can tell your Members of Congress that you support the Green Climate Fund by signing this action alert. As Jews, acting as environmental stewards and ensuring that our children and our children’s children are left with a habitable earth are vital elements of our tradition. As Reform Jews, gender equity is also a central component of our faith. Our Reform Jewish leaders fought hard to achieve an equal place for women among our clergy, in our communities and in American society. Considering the rights of women and gender equality is an important part of our support for the Green Climate Fund in the same way that it is integral to our reproductive health advocacy. Happy last day of Women’s History Month! To find out more about our environmental work check out the Religious Action Center’s environmental issue page here and for more on our women’s rights and gender work check out that issue page here.

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