By Haley Knighten and Christina Trexler
From declining water resources, famines and food insecurity, extreme biodiversity loss, climate change and human overpopulation, there is no question that various environmental issues are leaving their toll on the planet.
But environmental issues are women’s issues, and unfortunately, women suffer the detrimental effects of the climate apocalypse at a much greater rate than the other gender. This is why a woman is 14 times more likely than a man to die in a natural disaster. This is why women make up 80% of global refugees and populations displaced by climate change. This is why women and children spend an estimated 200 million hours every single day searching for water. This is why women are often the first to sacrifice their diet in times of shortage, even though women are the ones who account for 45 to 80% of food production in developing countries.
Women, as they play a pivotal role in household activities such as food production, resource management, fuel collection, healthcare provision and child education, face gender-based barriers such as poverty, socio-cultural disadvantages, economic and political hurdles that not only render them more vulnerable to the environment, but also hinder them from utilizing their comprehensive knowledge, adroit skills, and devoted alacrity to contribute to climate change adaptation and mitigation.
Women are not adequately represented at the table when it comes to making decisions on important environmental issues. They are underrepresented in science, government, and businesses worldwide.
But research suggests that women in positions of authority make the concerns of other women integral to their policy agendas. Again, environmental issues are women’s issues.
Therefore, there is a dire need to close the gender gap and nurture Environmental STEMinism-a movement focused on gender equality in STEM related fields when working toward Environmental solutions-to inspire the next generation of female innovators to make their unique perspectives on environmental issues heard. Let’s get to work on creating a movement focused on advancing women in leadership in STEM so environmental issues can be tackled with the full force of the human population. The future of our planet literally depends on it.
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