The Impact of Climate Change on Women and Children in Southern India

Statement - 20th June 2012 - New Life

Women are the centre of any country/economy/civilisation – and the most vulnerable to any change are the women. Climate change is no exception.

The severe changes in climate affect our women in South India to the maximum extent.

The increase in temperature reduces the food productivity and the food shortage and unavailability first hits the women as they give the food available to their children and husbands. They suffer from hunger.

Hence malnutrition is high among women. This is more so in rural areas.

In the rural areas, the women are most affected by the drought as they have to fetch water from a distance.

This consumes their effective working time and they become tired and burdened.

During times of natural calamities like tsunamis and Cyclone Thane (2011), the most vulnerable are the girls who are being trafficked.

This issue was especially prevalent during the time of the tsunami and many girls were trafficked from the south to other states.

Drought in rural areas leads to migration of the man leaving the woman to do the farming activities.

But the woman is not recognised in this role. She is differentiated, as she is paid less than her male collegue.

Economically speaking,women often lose their jobs during times of flood and famine. They work for longer hours at unpaid work (cleaning the house from the after-effects of floods, or fetching water during drought), as well as supporting their husbands in their income-generating activities, as well as pawning or selling their jewelry, often their only asset.

The time demanding household chores and the destructive natural calamities often hinders girls' education.

Even the number of women who died during the tsunami was higher than that of men.