‘Man-made’ climate change a major woman’s problem – Business Insider

By Marianne Barriaux, AFP – Posted 7th March 2015

Geneva (AFP) – Men and women may not always be on the same footing but you would think both sexes would be equal in the face of gigantic floods, typhoons or droughts. Think again.

Countless studies show that natural disasters on average kill more women than men — 90 percent female fatalities in some cases, prevent girls from going to school, increase the threat of sexual assault. And the list goes on.

This issue has leapt to the fore in global negotiations on climate change, which scientists warn will be responsible for increasingly violent and frequent natural catastrophes around the world.

“It boils down to the fact that women and men have different types of vulnerabilities already in the world,” said Tara Shine, special advisor to the Mary Robinson Foundation-Climate Justice think tank, headed by the former Irish president-turned UN special envoy for climate change.

“And then climate change comes along and accentuates all of those,” she added on the sidelines of the ongoing UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, where the issue of climate change and rights was debated.

– Cannot swim, climb trees –

According to the World Bank, 90 percent of some 140,000 victims of the 1991 cyclone that battered Bangladesh were women, as were nearly two thirds of those killed by Myanmar’s 2008 Cyclone Nargis.

“There are many reasons but one of them is that they cannot swim, they cannot climb trees, it’s cultural,” said Elena Manaenkova, assistant secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

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