Much was said at the Women’s March about the importance of preserving and expanding women’s rights here at home and abroad. From the #metoo movement, to equal pay for equal work, reproductive rights and equal opportunities for women of color and minorities, people rallied to express their commitment to a better future for all women. Unfortunately, you can also add climate change to the many issues that have a harsher impact on women.

Women in developing countries are more likely to rely on local natural resources for their livelihood. Because of their dependency on natural resources, women are more likely to lose their job after a catastrophic weather event. As the United Nations points out, women already disproportionately experience poverty worldwide, as extreme weather events become more common, they have a harder time maintaining financial independence. Here in the U.S, the consequences of extreme weather events on women were visible after hurricane Katrina. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, 83% of single mothers were not able to return home until two full years after the storm, while an estimated 2/3 of jobs lost after Katrina were lost by women. Following a natural disaster most of the immediate jobs available are construction and clean up, both still male dominated. 

As the conversations around issues that concern women continues in Congress, classrooms, living rooms and beyond, it is crucial that we too continue to demand common sense environmental policies. At a time where dialogue is crucial to problem solving, the Bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus offers representatives a chance to discuss and learn about the impacts, causes and challenges of our changing climate. To see if your representative is already being part of the solution you can head over here. Currently New Jersey only has two participating House representatives, that is why I urge you to contact Congressman Chris Smith or your local representative and encourage them to join the Bipartisan Climate Solution Caucus.

 

Itzel Perez
Red Bank, NJ