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Tags Current Affairs

Climate change leads to more violence on women and girls

Date: 05 March 2020 Tags: Climate Change


IUCN has undertaken the largest and most comprehensive study to date on the effects of climate change and environmental degradation on gender-based violence.



This study shows us that the damage humanity is inflicting on nature can also fuel violence against women around the world, a link that has so far been largely overlooked.



  • The study adds to the urgency of halting environmental degradation alongside action to stop gender-based violence in all its forms, and demonstrates that the two issues often need to be addressed together.

  • According to the study, girls in countries like Ethiopia and South Sudan are being sold off in marriage during extreme droughts, in exchange for cattle.

  • It is simply a survival strategy, to get rid of a daughter to relieve the pressure on the family, or it’s the only way to generate income.

  • Growing resource scarcity also increases the risk that women and girls will be victims of violence. With increasing drought and desertification in the global south, more and more water sources and wells are drying up.

  • Fetching water is often a woman’s job, and if they’re forced to walk farther for that water the risk of sexual assault also increases, especially in regions characterized by armed gangs.

  • Women living on many of Africa’s coasts and lakes have also suffered as fish have become scarcer. Fishermen peddling their wares are now not only expecting money as payment,  they’re also demanding sexual favours. According to the IUCN study, this practice is now so common in western Kenya that it has a name: the Jaboya system.

  • World Vision has tried to counteract this form of sexual exploitation, in particular in the eastern African region around Lake Victoria, where women have been given the opportunity to breed fish in ponds.

  • In places where women are responsible for agriculture, a sudden natural disaster or extreme weather event can have a dramatic effect on their social and family standing. If harvests are threatened or wiped out altogether, this can lead to violence,  often from within their own families.

  • Women and girls can suffer terribly in extreme weather situations and during natural disasters, when societies dictate certain behaviors and prohibit others, such as being out in public alone.

  • According to the IUCN study, threats and sexual violence such as rape are often used to target environmental activists to undermine their status within the community, and to prevent other women from working to preserve the environment from the construction of a new mine or dam.

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