September 03, 2011Print : Islamabad
Experts have indicated that women are more likely to be unseen victims of resource wars and violence directly related to adverse effects of climate change.
Bushra Khaliq, general secretary of the Women Workers Helpline, said the phenomenon in years 1999 and 2000 clearly indicated the vulnerability when thousands of poor families had to flee from drought-hit areas of Balochistan where women and children were seen the most suffered sections of society.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature, in its report, stated that there is a common perception that it is men who are the farmers . Contrary to this perception, women in Pakistan produce 60-80 per cent of food consumed in the house.
A report of the World Bank also showed that in Pakistan, especially in the mountainous regions, men out-migrate for livelihood opportunities (from 50% to 63% of the households) and it is the women who look after the family s agriculture piece of land along with many other responsibilities.
According to an official report prepared by the Environment Wing, climate change could hamper the achievement of many of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), including those on poverty eradication, child mortality, malaria, and other diseases, and environmental sustainability. The report of the Environment Wing said like other poor countries, climate change is harder on women in Pakistan, where mothers have to stay in areas hit by drought, deforestation or crop failure.
Many destructive activities against the environment disproportionately affect them, because most women in Pakistan are dependent on primary natural resources: land, forests, and waters. In case of droughts they are immediately affected, and usually women cannot run away. Men can trek and go looking for greener pastures in other areas and sometimes in other countries.
The prime minister recently disclosed in his speech that Pakistan is the 12th most vulnerable country in the world to environmental degradation that would cost five per cent of the GDP every year. So it is quite clear that much of the damage would come in the form of severe economic shocks.
Lead Pakistan, a non-governmental organization, also in its report said the agriculture is the single largest sector in national economy, contributing 21 per cent to the GDP and employing 43 per cent of the workforce of which female are in majority. When there is deforestation, when there is drought, when there is crop failure, it is the women who are the most adversely affected section of the society.