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Gender Action 2021 Annual Fundraising Letter
Dear Gender Action Supporters and Would-be Supporters,
Although the climate crisis threatens and affects all humanity, it does not do so uniformly. Climate change aggravates gender inequalities, disproportionally impacting marginalized gender groups, especially women, girls and sexual and gender minorities in the global south.
In the aftermath of climate shocks and pandemics in poor countries, girls are more likely than boys to be pulled from school to care for other household members such as younger siblings, while mothers must seek paid work. Girls are disproportionately contracted into early marriage. Sexual and gender minorities in developing countries inordinately suffer because discrimination makes them more likely to be kicked out of family homes and face homelessness and violence. Climate change and pandemics amplify these risky conditions.
Former Vice-President Al Gore lamented this month, "The World Bank has been missing in action [from the climate fight]" (Financial Times December 8, 2021). Gender Action's fieldwork cases provide examples of how the promises of our taxpayer-funded development banks, such as the World Bank, to reduce the climate crises and gender inequality are going unmet. Examples include:
in Haiti, women, girls and sexual and gender minorities have been especially hit by climate change-triggered devastating floods, as well as severe earthquakes, which cause homelessness and expose them to increased sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). To build the Inter-American Development Bank-financed industrial park project in the aftermath of Haiti's massive earthquake over a decade ago, farm households were forcibly displaced from precious fertile land. Not receiving new promised housing for a decade forced then to live outdoors during climate change-induced destructive storms, which also exposed women and girls to the elements and increased SGBV.
In Senegal, women fishers protested the construction of the coastal African Development Bank (AfDB)-financed Sendou Coal Power Plant project for a decade - to no avail. Plant construction destroyed their fish processing site and livelihoods, slashing women's earnings. After the plant began operating in 2018, coal particle emissions triggered widespread respiratory diseases in the local population. Caring for the newly sick expanded women's unpaid care work. The plant also contributed to our global climate crisis. Continuous protests recently stopped plant operations but too late to restore women's fishing-based livelihoods. A coal plant conversion to gas project will also contribute to deleterious health and planetary impacts.
Fieldwork cases also show development banks' disregard for promised community consultations on potential social and environmental outcomes, which might have prevented or diminished adverse impacts on health, women's livelihoods, women's care burdens and exposure to SGBV, as well as accelerating climate change.
Harmful development bank project livelihood and health impacts demonstrate how climate change particularly effects women who, according to the dominant gender division of labor, carry primary responsibility for putting food on tables and caring for household and community members and ecosystems.
Gender Action is pushing public development banks to uphold the right of affected people to provide or withhold consent for projects before they proceed. We are calling on the banks to take measures to end forced dislocations from homes and livelihoods, stop disrupting access to natural resources necessary for survival, and prevent violence against women, girls and sexual and gender minorities. Through actively participating in numerous coalitions such as Big Shift Global, Gender Action is pressuring the development banks to stop supporting coal, oil and gas projects and their harmful health, livelihood and existential planetary impacts.
Join Gender Action in achieving climate and gender justice. Please contribute by clicking genderaction.org's Donate or mailing a check to Gender Action, 925 H Street NW, Suite 410, Washington DC 20001.
Achieving real climate and gender justice takes all of us.
Thanks for your support and Happy Holidays!