Take Action on Women’s Rights and Climate Change

Jun 3rd, 2013 | By | Category: Climate Change

By Suzanne York, www.howmany.org

At long last, a bill in Congress that addresses climate change and women’s empowerment!  If you are looking for something positive to get behind, then read on.

A resolution has been re-introduced in Congress by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) which recognizes the disproportionate impact that climate change has on women.  H. Concurrent Resolution 36 – the Women’s Climate Change Resolution – officially supports “Recognizing the disparate impact of climate change on women and the efforts of women globally to address climate change.”

Why Women?

Women are on the frontlines of climate change, bearing the brunt of many of the impacts and effects. In most countries around the world they are the main providers of food, water, fuel and other resources for their families. When women are empowered, they can better support their families, manage resources, and more successfully adapt to climate impacts.

[photo credit:UNICEF-Pirozzi]

Globally, women face many barriers that even without factoring in climate change are big deterrents.  Gender inequality and a lack of access to education and healthcare, to name a few barriers, have prevented too many women from taking charge of their lives.

Empowered women are in a much stronger position to address the challenges of food insecurity, poverty, and climate change.  For now, though, they are barely heard on issues of prime importance to them.  Until women’s needs are met and their voices are included in policies debated in Congress, the United Nations, and other arenas, no policy will be successful.

Key Parts of the Legislation

Some of the main points of the Women’s Climate Change Resolution include the following:

  • recognizes the disparate impacts of climate change on women and the efforts of women globally to address climate change;
  • encourages the use of gender-sensitive frameworks in developing policies to address climate change, which account for the specific impacts of climate change on women;
  • affirms its commitment to support women who are particularly vulnerable to climate change impacts to prepare for, build their resilience, and adapt to those impacts, including a commitment to increase education and training opportunities for women to develop local resilience plans to address the effects of climate change;
  • affirms its commitment to empower women to have a voice in the planning, design, implementation, and evaluation of strategies to address climate change so that their roles and resources are taken into account.


Currently, the Women’s Climate Change Resolution has only a 10% chance of getting past committee. There is no reason that such a positive and empowering piece of legislation should flounder or fail.  Congress should not only be discussing climate change, but should also be supporting ways to improve lives of women around the world.

Please tell your member of Congress today that you support this legislation and that you want womens voices to be heard in the climate change debate.


Suzanne York is a senior writer with the Institute for Population Studies.



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