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Women bear the brunt of drought shocks

Women bear the brunt of drought shocks

CLIMATEWIRE | According to a UN report, women in most parts of the world are more prone than men to shocks associated with drought and desertification due to systemic sexism.

This is largely due to the lack of land rights and social justice, which prevents women from accessing capital, training, technical assistance and government halls.

A report commissioned by the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification notes that women who are often engaged in agricultural practices are not recognized as farmers because of gender norms. This limits their access to funding, information and services needed to protect against climate-related damage such as drought.

The report notes that without land ownership or assets that can serve as collateral, women are struggling to get loans and credits that can help them recover from climate-related damage. And without access to money and technology, women are less able to adopt sustainable land management practices that could help prevent additional climate damage or increase crop yields.

“Fair land management and land tenure are crucial to women’s efforts to restore land,” the report said.

Women play a vital, but often unrecognized, role in the global food system. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, women make up almost half of those employed in agriculture in low-income countries, but much of this work is unpaid and overburdened.

“Women are the main actors in global efforts to reduce and reverse land degradation. They restore the land, they protect the land, they cherish, nurture and care for the land, and they care for others, ”said Ibrahim Tiau, Executive Secretary of the Convention. Combating desertification, the introduction to the report says.

Gender discrimination and norms that do not recognize their role may increase the burden on women and the world’s ability to combat the growing threat to land resources (GreenwireApril 27).

Take early warning systems. The report notes that climate forecasts to help women prepare for drought are often spread at meetings that women cannot attend.

The shortcomings do not apply evenly to all genders, the study notes. Other aspects of identity, such as ethnicity, income, marital status, disability, and rural or urban areas, also play an important role, it said.

It also examines the impact on women’s health. In all regions, women care more than men, and drought and land degradation tend to increase the burden of their homework, forcing women to walk on or wait in long lines to collect water, the report said.

“Women left to run their households may not be able to make timely agricultural decisions or respond to the effects of drought, land degradation and desertification or extreme weather events,” the study said.

In many countries, women are restricted in accessing or owning land, and in more than 100 countries women are denied the right to inherit property belonging to their husbands due to religious, customary or traditional laws.

But even in countries where women’s legal rights to land coincide with men’s rights, farm ownership is still overwhelmingly in the hands of men. In Costa Rica, for example, only about 15 percent of farms are owned by women.

The lack of recognition of women farmers means that they have less access to the training needed to respond to the effects of climate change on agriculture. At the same time, women are often not represented at international summits where justice issues need to be addressed. Only 21 percent of the delegates at the last summit of the Convention to Combat Desertification were women, the report said.

Nearly 200 countries participating in the Convention to Combat Desertification adopted a Gender Action Plan in 2017, which recognizes the important role that women play in land regeneration and sustainable land management, and the report offers recommendations on how to improve women’s participation at the regional and regional levels. global.

It also highlights examples of women leading innovative ways to reform land rights, sustainable agriculture and improve land use technologies.

For example, a women-led irrigation system in India helps store rainwater underground until it can be used during dry periods. The project in Benin, a country in West Africa, uses solar energy to irrigate fields, saving women from having to collect water by hand from rivers and aquifers.

Reprinted from E&E News courtesy of POLITICO, LLC. Copyright 2022. E&E News provides important news for professionals in the field of energy and the environment.

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