Climate changes affects us all but disproportionately affects women in these 10 ways:
1. It alters the timing of girls’ first menstrual cycle(menarche). The menstrual cycle affects many important functions in the body, so when menarche occurs too early or too late, it may influence disease risk and health later in life. The review found that climate-driven disruptions of menarche could increase disease risk for women in four key areas: mental health, fertility, cardiovascular disease, and bone health.
2. It decreases women’s productivity. Higher temperature, caused by climate change, will decrease women’s productivity. Due to physiological differences, the optimal temperature for men is 27.6 degrees while women have a lower optimal temperature of 26.7 degree.
3. Increased risk of violence against women and girls. Globally, on unusually hot days, there are more violent assaults, sexual violence and homicides.
4. Climate change increases girls and women’s chance of malnutrition and starvation. In developing countries, culturally, girls and women are the last family members to eat at mealtime. Drought and crop failure causes limited supply of food and increases food prices. During times like this, girls and women have higher chances of experiencing hunger, malnutrition and starvation.
5. Climate change affects fertility. High temperatures have a significant negative effect on fertility and birth rates. As climate change drives temperatures up and increases the number and severity of heat waves, getting pregnant may become harder than ever.
6. Girls become more vulnerable to child marriages than usual. Families who have lost their homes and livelihoods are more likely to marry their daughters off to older men (or wealthier families) as bride price is a source of income and it reduces the number of mouths to feed.
7. Girls in rural areas are more likely to drop out of school. During difficult farming periods, caused by climate change, there will be increased pressure for girls to abandon school to take up household duties and child-rearing because fathers have relocated to urban areas for work and mothers are left to farm to put food on the table.
8. It throws off girls and women’s menstrual cycles. Climate changes affects woman’s menstrual cycles by varying the bodies’ metabolic rate which clues in to hormonal inequity. In higher temperatures, women have increased hormone secretion and shorter cycles by 0.9 days.
9. When disaster hits, it is harder for women to bounce back. Globally, women usually face greater barriers to formal banking services and tend to be more credit-constrained than men. After extreme weather events, men are able to rebuild faster than women.
10. It increases the chance of women being displaced. Studies have found that 80% of people displaced by climate change are women.
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If you enjoyed this article, you might also enjoy reading Women Presidents Around The World, Menstrual Hygiene Tips or How Climate Change Affects Women in Rural Africa