How climate change fuels gender-based violence – and what we can do about it

Climate change is not only a threat to our planet, but also to our people. Especially women and youth, who are more likely to face gender-based violence (GBV) as environmental degradation and resource scarcity worsen.

GBV is any violence that targets individuals or groups based on their gender identity or expression. It can include sexual assault, domestic violence, child marriage, human trafficking, and more.

Women and youth are often dependent on natural resources for their survival and livelihoods, but they have limited access and control over them. This makes them more vulnerable to violence when they have to compete for scarce resources or migrate to safer areas.

Women and youth are also often neglected or marginalized in disaster response and recovery efforts. They may face more violence from their partners or family members due to stress and trauma. They may also be trapped in overcrowded and unsafe shelters or camps, where they have no protection or privacy.

To prevent and respond to GBV in the context of climate change, we need to adopt a gender-responsive and human rights-based approach. We need to ensure that women and youth are involved in decision-making processes and have access to information, education, health care, justice, and security. We need to promote gender equality and empowerment in environmental policies and interventions. We need to create safe spaces and support services for survivors of GBV. We need to challenge the social norms and structures that perpetuate GBV. We need to create a culture of respect and dignity for all people regardless of their gender identity or expression.

What do you think? How can we address the link between climate change and GBV? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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