Climate change and gender orgs join Earth Day celebrations
Civil society networks celebrated Earth Day early last Friday through a round table discussion on gender, health and climate change.
Aksyon Klima Pilipinas and Sarilaya, networks working on climate change and gender equality issues, respectively, also invited participants from other rural groups and non-governmental organizations.
“Earth Day should honor not only Mother Nature but also our own mothers and other women who are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change,” said Aksyon Klima coordinator Rowena Bolinas.
In the case studies presented by Mary delos Santos, president of the Pambansang Koalisyon ng Kababaihan sa Kanayunan (PKKK), or the National Rural Women Coalition, which they undertook in areas from Bolinao, Pangasinan to Muug in Zamboanga Sibugay, women respondents in the communities identified the need for social protection in the form of affordable insurance for health, livelihood and disaster-related events.
“Women are differently impacted by disasters and climate change due to limited access to economic opportunities, dual roles in domestic chores and production, physical make-up and imposed social restrictions,” she said.
Women participants also urged the government and other sectors to recognize the engendered needs of women especially in times of disasters and with the worsening impacts of climate change.
“Women in evacuation centers are exposed to danger and violence due to the lack of privacy, security and unhygienic environment. They even fall prey to sexual aggression”, delos Santos added.
Esperanza Santos, Sarilaya’s advocacy officer, explained that water-related health concerns are but some of the many vulnerable points of women when it comes to dealing with climate change.
“Women need to wash much more often than men do. They are also expected to take care of their children’s hygiene,” Santos shared.
“Women also traditionally carry water into their houses and tend the garden, and we have accounts of members who are finding these roles increasingly harder to fulfil as the sources of their water are drying up,” she added.
Undersecretary Yeb Sano of the Climate Change Commission, Dr. Cecile Magturo of the Department of Health’s climate change group, Mina Tenorio of LIKHAAN and Max de Mesa of the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates also spoke during the day-long discussion.
Aksyon Klima Pilipinas (Aksyon Klima) is composed of about 40 civil society organizations across the Philippines working on various climate change and development issues.
Sarilaya is a national organization of women committed to promoting women’s empowerment and gender equality.
Contact: Denise M. Fontanilla
Advocacy Officer, Aksyon Klima Pilipinas
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