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Odisha: Women as climate action ambassadors in coastal districts of India’s Odisha state June 07,2019   |  Source: UN Environment

People in the coastal districts of the eastern Indian state of Odisha are increasingly suffering from the effects of climate change. Most households in the area are dependent on natural resources for their livelihoods from fishing, forest foraging and paddy cultivation. Despite the area’s past high productivity in agriculture and fisheries, population pressure and a breakdown in weather patterns have inflicted serious damage on coastal ecosystems and the well-being of the local population, pushing many rural households below the poverty line.

But men and women have not been equally affected by the changes. Unsurprisingly, a study by a local non-governmental organization, the Regional Centre for Development Cooperation, has shown that structural inequality between women and men—further deepened by wealth status, ethnicity, age and location—meant that poor women, children, the elderly and disabled were the worst affected by the climate crisis and natural disasters. In particular, women were found to be more exposed to social tensions, malnutrition and increased workload.

Three ways women are affected differently by the climate emergency

While both women and men lose income from subsistence farming and agricultural labour due to increasing salinity of land and water,

 

© United Nations Environment Programme

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