In the aftermath of a natural disaster, women are often the most vulnerable. Particularly in rural areas, women suffer disproportionately from inadequate shelter and poor sanitation facilities and are often tasked with rebuilding shattered homes.
Women and girls can be powerful agents of change, but they are disproportionately affected by disasters because of social roles, discrimination and poverty.
For many women in Malawi’s disaster-prone southern district of Nsanje, resilience is essential to survive the cyclical flooding.
When the crops in her rural highlands community in southern Peru were covered with a thick layer of ice one night, Felícitas Quispe, 43, organised her neighbours to make an effort to keep people from starving to death.
Following a lukewarm outcome of the Rio+20 sustainable development negotiations in June, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is moving full-steam ahead on a new initiative aimed at leveraging public-private partnerships to bring modern energy to over one billion people by 2030.
Three years ago, the residents of the semi-arid Yatta district in Kenya’s Eastern Province lived on food aid due to dwindling crops of maize that could not thrive because of the decreased rainfall in the area.That was until a local bishop, trying to find ways to prevent mothers from forcing their teenage daughters into prostitution, changed everything.
Cameroonian urban famer Juliana Numfor has six plots of land where she grows maize, cassava, sweet potatoes and leafy vegetables, including cabbages, wild okra and greens.
Blanca Lima raises all her appliances above flood level, puts boxes of clothes on top of wardrobes, and fills the shelves she installed near the ceiling with all kinds of objects. In less than an hour, she is ready to evacuate her home in case of a flood in the Cuban capital.
Eight years ago Kenbesh Mengesha earned an uncertain income collecting firewood from local government forests and selling them to her fellow slum-dwellers in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She would earn on average about 50 cents a day, if she was lucky.
Incorporating a gender focus in public policies for confronting and adapting to the impacts of climate change is still a pending task in the Caribbean, despite women’s proven skills in risk and disaster management.
When the Rio+20 summit on sustainable development ended Friday, there were winners and losers – mostly losers.
What does birth control have to do with reducing global emissions?
When Arati Chaudhary’s husband left for India to find work as a migrant labourer, the job of managing farm and family fell on her slender shoulders.
Human rights should be explicitly recognised as an indispensable ingredient of sustainable development at the Rio+20 summit in Brazil, says Navanethem Pillay, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Unlocking women's energies and allowing them to become drivers of change could fuel the motor of sustainable development.