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The cost of the climate emergency is having a greater impact on women, according to the United Nations.
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The cost of the climate emergency is having a greater impact on women, according to the United Nations.

Research has revealed that women living in rural areas experience significantly bigger financial setbacks due to the effects of climate change compared to men in developing nations. Unfortunately, it is expected that this disparity will continue to grow.

According to the data released on Tuesday by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), female-headed households in rural areas experienced a higher income loss of approximately 8% due to heat stress compared to male-headed households. When facing flood events, these women-led households also had a 3% larger decrease in income compared to men.

In low- and middle-income countries around the globe, the disparity amounts to approximately $37 billion in annual losses for women due to heat stress and an additional $16 billion due to floods.

According to the researchers, there is a correlation between a 1C rise in average temperatures over an extended period and a decrease of approximately 33% in the income of households led by women when compared to those led by men.

According to the report, when unusually high temperatures occur, both children and women typically have to work longer hours. In rural areas, children work approximately one additional hour per week on average.

According to the FAO’s deputy director of inclusive rural transformation and gender equality, Lauren Phillips, and one of the report’s co-authors, governments are disregarding factors that negatively impact women and climate aid is not adequately addressing gender disparities. The report is the first to provide quantitative evidence of this issue.

She explained to the Guardian that the disparity between genders can greatly affect the growth of GDP. By targeting women and reducing food insecurity for 45 million individuals, it is possible to increase global GDP by 1%.

Out of all climate finance worldwide, a small percentage (less than 2%) is expected to benefit small-scale food producers. Due to the unequal distribution of resources and opportunities, women are disproportionately affected by the impacts of the climate crisis. This is partially due to preexisting inequalities such as unequal land rights and limited economic opportunities. Additionally, women typically carry a heavier burden of tasks such as providing water, fuel, and food. Phillips suggests that governments and donors could help alleviate these issues by directing assistance more effectively.

She stated that empowering women through targeted efforts has numerous advantages. Specifically directing climate finance towards women can yield multiple gains and benefits. It is important to intentionally prioritize this in order to see higher returns on our investment.

A team of researchers studied socioeconomic statistics from over 100,000 households in rural areas, which represents a population of 950 million individuals. These households were from 24 countries with low- and middle-income economies. The researchers also looked at 70 years of daily data on precipitation and temperature in order to understand the impact of climate change and severe weather on the livelihoods, work, and overall quality of life for these individuals.

New studies continue to show that women and vulnerable individuals are among those most affected by the consequences of climate change. Furthermore, the research reveals that older adults are more susceptible to these impacts compared to younger individuals, who may have more options to relocate to safer areas during extreme weather events. Additionally, the report highlights that lower-income populations are at a higher risk than those with higher incomes.

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In the introduction of the report, Maximo Torero Cullen, the top economist at the FAO, stated that the effects of climate change are exacerbating income disparities in rural regions. This is leading disadvantaged individuals to resort to ineffective coping methods, ultimately hindering their ability to break out of cycles of poverty and hunger.

The study revealed that when flooding or extreme temperatures occurred, poorer households experienced losses approximately 5% higher on average compared to their more affluent neighbors.

According to Phillips, the research revealed that climate change is causing a greater reliance on agriculture among disadvantaged rural communities. As the climate continues to shift, maintaining successful agriculture will become increasingly challenging.

Source: theguardian.com