Why women are disproportionately impacted by climate change

Discover the data behind climate change impact in Africa

Climate change is a global issue that is increasingly affecting everyone. However, these effects are not experienced equally across different groups in society. One immediate and clear disparity can be seen between genders, with climate change and its associated impacts affecting women more adversely.

Research by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation found that in Africa, women are particularly vulnerable to the impact of climate change due to higher dependency on climate sensitive sectors, higher levels of poverty, and less access to information. In fact, five out of the ten most climate vulnerable countries are also among the ten countries with the lowest gender equality on the continent.

Furthermore, Carbon Brief found that women are more likely to be affected by four out of five major areas that are impacted by climate change in Africa.

Bar chart showing the proportion of men and women affected by climate change impacts, including death and injury from extreme weather; food insecurity; infectious disease; mental illness; and poor reproductive and maternal health. (Source: Carbon Brief, October 2020)

In March 2022, African countries agreed on a common position to integrate gender equality in climate action agenda, recognising that the climate crisis is not a “gender neutral” global crisis. Also, in order for climate action to be effective, it needs to be inclusive of women especially as women can play a critical role in climate adaptation.