Environmental Degredation Linked To Gender Inequality

Mar 09 2012

Women and Water 

March 8, 2012 is International Women’s Day and this year’s theme is Connecting Girls, Inspiring Futures

International Women’s Day and the upcoming World Water Day on March 22 are significantly connected:

In today’s world, WATER IS SCARCE

-At least 400 million people worldwide live in areas with severe water shortages

-The average person in the US uses between 80 and 100 gallons of water per day

-By 2025, 1.8 billion people will be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity, and two-thirds of the world’s population could be living under water stressed conditions  –UN WWD

Water Scarcity Impacts Women The Most
Environmental degredation impacts the poor more than the rich: People living in poverty have limited or no access to safety and economic relief during environmental disasters such as drought, flood, and storms. It just so happens that women make up 70% of the world’s global poor! This means that women are impacted by environmental degredation more than anyone else in the world.

 -In 2007, an estimated 1.5 million people were left homeless due to rains and flooding in Africa. Women and children comprised more than three quarters of those displaced  –NRDC

In most societies, women have the primary role of care giver which means that they must cook, clean, and take care of children and the elderly on a daily basis. In addition to these heavy burderns, women in many developing countries are also responsible for gathering water. A woman’s precious time has become centered around survival rather than empowerment:

-Women spend up to five hours a day immersed in water-related tasks

-Due to drought and other climate changes, women and children are forced to walk further distances to search for water

-In Africa alone, women and children spend 40 billion hours per year in search of the nearest water source  –UN WWD

Spending most of their lives searching for water, children have less time to go to school; Women have less time for empowering activities such as pursuing higher education and employment. Therefore, environmental degredation such as water scarcity results in global inequality of women.

What We Need to Do

Conserve and protect natural resources: When we protect the environment, we are also fighting against global inequality and suffering

As implied by the theme of International Women’s Day 2012- Connecting Girls, Inspiring Futures- we must support empowerment of girls and women:

-When we help girls and women to become more economically empowered, to attain their educational goals, to make their own choices about family planning, they can help build communities that are more climate-resilient, with stronger water, energy, and health infrastructures, with better-educated children who know what to when emergencies happen, with better household health education —and the list goes on and on.  –NRDC

-Supporting women’s literacy, health care, education, and property rights will reduce their poverty and can move whole communities toward more climate change resilience.  –NRDC

Stay tuned for more World Water Day materials to find out how you can conserve water

Sources:
Girls: This International Women’s Day’s For you! -NRDC
It’s World Water Day: Women and Water
UN World Water Day

Leave a Reply