Hannah Wilson


Climate change affects men and women differently. While some individual women may be less vulnerable to climate change than some men, the global perpetuation of discrimination, inequality, patriarchal structures, and systematic barriers contribute to an overall higher risk of women experiencing harmful effects of climate change. International human rights law prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender. However, in practice, systematic discrimination, harmful stereotypes, and social, economic and political barriers related to gender can lead to varied climate change impacts with respect to health, food security, livelihoods and human mobility, and more, which may significantly limit women’s and girls’ adaptive ability in the face of climate change. Such barriers include limited or inequitable access to financial assets and services, education, land, resources and decision-making processes, among many others. This reality is even starker for women and girls who face multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination; particularly those of lower socio-economic status, rural women and girls, and older women. As such, climate change perpetuates gender inequality. In turn, harmful gender stereotypes and entrenched forms of structural discrimination often significantly hinder women’s ability to meaningfully participate in climate action. Addressing climate change, including its gendered impacts, is therefore essential to the promotion and protection of the rights of women and girls.