LONDON, Nov. 18 (UPI) — A United Nations report warns that women will bear the brunt of global climate change since a large share of women rely on agriculture for their livelihoods.
The report released in London Wednesday by the United Nations Population Fund concludes that the world’s poor will be hit hardest by global warming, and the majority of poor people happen to be women.
“Poor women in poor countries are among the hardest hit by climate change, even though they contributed the least to it,” UNFPA Executive Director Thoraya Ahmed Obaid said in a written statement.
The most telling effect comes from an expected increase in floods, droughts and other natural disasters that strike rural areas, particularly along seacoasts and rivers. Statistics show more women than men tend to be killed in such events.
The report says educational and healthcare programs for women and girls can help since they tend to lead to smaller and healthier families that lower the overall growth of greenhouse emissions.
“With the possibility of a climate catastrophe on the horizon, we cannot afford to relegate the world’s 3.4 billion women and girls to the role of victim,” Obaid said. “Wouldn’t it make more sense to have 3.4 billion agents for change?”
Copyright 2009 by United Press International