Integral changes-A A +A
Slice of Life
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
WOMEN are key to battling climate change and reducing poverty in Asia, as indicated by a new study by the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI).
The report called on governments across the continent to implement policy that will change the plight of women, who face marginalization and are either ignored or exploited. It argued that "exclusion and inequality on gender grounds are still rife and complicated by the intersection of cultural and social norms, economic pressures, and inadequate legal and institutional frameworks."
This only shows that gender equity and reproductive rights are integral in sustaining development initiatives. By ignoring women and their situation, most notably within rural and poorer communities, they are systematically hindered from improving their lives and making informed decisions.
Programs and policies are needed to combat climate change or encourage sustainable development to incorporate lessons learned and assist women in being leaders in their local communities. This goes down to women’s management of natural resources and their participation in disaster prevention and management.
In disaster prone areas, women often provide advice to their townfolks on climate changes. "Kung dili maayo ang panahon, ginaingnan namo ang mga kalalakin-an nga dili usa managat o muadto sa halayong dapit," Elsa, 48 and a fisherfolk said.
Women's close relationship with nature also makes them responsible in securing water and food for their daily use but their limited access to decision making and economic assets, as well as lack of control over the natural resource makes them vulnerable to climate changes and makes it harder for them to access the resources.
The illegal and destructive fishing and intrusion of commercial fishers in municipal waters not only results to decline in fish stock but also the destruction of coral resources and seagrass beds.
For women in coastal communities, the significant decline in fish catch results to taking up additional work, either as household work or getting paid doing laundry for more affluent families.
With more work and less resources, women are at risk of high maternal mortality and morbidity, including high incidence of anemia and malnutrition among the sector. The lack of access to contraception and family-planning, as well as early age of marriage and pregnancy have also taken its toll.
Where there is lack of access to comprehensive sexuality education and rights-based information and services, and where majority of women in the community are still relegated to reproductive function, the challenges and the costs are high.
Coastal communities are at risk of the hazards posed by climate change. The capacity of women to identify and manage risks can be strengthened and systematically utilized to be able to respond to the usual challenges of food insecurity, unsecured settlements and the health hazards pose by these changes.
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Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 07, 2012.