As Global Temperatures Rise, Women Rise for Climate Justice, A Day of Action with One Billion Rising – February 14th 2014!

Local actions in the Maldives led by Voice of Women on the 13 February 2014

Location: Kulunu Vehi (SHE Building 3rd Floor), Buruzu Magu, Maafannu, Male’; Time: 8.30 PM

February 7, 2014

On February 14, 2014, WECAN (Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network) will take action for Mother Earth and Climate Justice in collaboration with One Billion Rising for Justice!

The Day of Action will also be dedicated to the signing of WECAN’s (Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network) Declaration, “Women of the World Call for Urgent Action on Climate Change & Sustainability Solutions” http://wecaninternational.org/declaration.

According to One Billion Rising for Justice, the action is “a call to women, men, and youth around the world to gather safely in recognition that we cannot end violence against women without looking at the intersection of poverty, racism, war, the plunder of the environment, capitalism, imperialism, and patriarchy. Impunity lives at the heart of these interlocking forces.”

WECAN International is a global women’s earth and climate action movement whose goal is to stop the escalation of climate change and environmental and community degradation, while accelerating the implementation of sustainability solutions through women’s empowerment, partnerships, hands-on trainings, advocacy campaigns, and political, economic, social and environmental action.

The impacts of climate change and environmental degradation are different for women and men. Women from low-income communities, those living in remote islands, especially during natural disasters like Tsunamis bear a heavier burden from the impacts of climate change because they are more vulnerable to abuse and more prone to be subjects of sexual harassment especially in temporary shelters.

Due to extreme and increasing natural disasters, women and girls are going to be left more vulnerable than ever before and making them more at risk for attack and rape.

Reproductive health needs in temporary shelters in disaster situations needs further development. Safe delivery of babies and neonatal care needs to be provided in situations such as these. The current facilities that are provided in such situations are very limited and make women more vulnerable to health risks.

Looking at long-term adaptation policies, global migration schemes are currently based on skill-based migration. If such a situation arises, it is important to ensure that Maldivian women have the skills and education needed to qualify for relocation, which would otherwise place them at a disadvantage compared to men.

With regards to internal migration, relocating people to other islands due to the impacts of climate change can also lead to health complications as it limits access to basic facilities such as clean water, sanitation and healthcare. Health care facilities are often insufficiently equipped to deal with the needs of relocated women, or they have limited access to healthcare facilities from the target location.

Facilities such as women’s shelters are currently very limited in the Maldives, and damage to infrastructure and hindered access to these facilities can increase the vulnerability of women who are in need of these facilities.

Flooding and destruction of homes and property may also be likely to affect Maldivian women more than men, as current inheritance laws are designed in a manner where women are at a disadvantage compared to men. Therefore any loss of property or homes can negatively affect the entitlement of women more than men.

Climate change causes an increase in diseases such as malaria, dengue and other infectious diseases, and women are the primary caregivers for the sick in the Maldives. From domestic households to hospitals, it is primarily women who primarily take first hand responsibility for looking after people who are unwell, and this increases the burden on them.

At the same time, women are key to sustainability solutions. It is women who are responsible for food production and the collection of water, which makes them particularly aware of changing weather patterns that alter growing seasons, decrease crop yields and lower water levels.  This knowledge is essential to adaption and mitigation strategies.

In considering adaptation and mitigation policies, it is important to ensure that women have an equal voice, and the input of vulnerable communities from islands must be heard as well. Presently, women are underrepresented legislative bodies, which are responsible for the implementation of such policies, so it must be confirmed that the implications arising from them, which may put women at a disadvantage, are understood and taken into consideration.

Through this Day of Action for Women and Climate Justice VoW is highlighting women’s leadership in climate solutions and importance of raising awareness on the issue in the Maldives as well as significance of men understanding the issue and being engaged in finding solutions.

This continuing commitment to action was solidified during the International Women’s Earth and Climate Summit in September of 2013 in New York and through WECAN’s Online Solutions Forum (http://wecaninternational.org/solutions-forum) where more than 25 countries including VoW from the Maldives, have provided advocacy and on-the-ground solutions for climate change and environmental crises.

“Women are rising with fierce resolve, because what’s happening at the national and international policy level on climate change is not equivalent to the urgency we are facing. We are demanding no more delays and calling for strategic action. We need to deal with root causes and systemic change. WECAN is standing for the Earth and future generations and we are visibilizing women’s resistance movements, clean energy businesses, gender-sensitive climate policies and on-the-ground solutions to climate change.” –Osprey Orielle Lake, Founder/Pres., Women’s Earth and Climate Caucus, Co-Founder, WECAN

#VOW4ClimateJustice      #WECAN_INTL     #rise4justice