Climate change is harder on women in Pakistan

By Shabina Faraz

Zainab Bibi, a widow, mother of three from a very isolated village in District Mansehra (KPK) has a small farm and some livestock as a source of livelihood. From the last three years, she has been experiencing a constant decline in her wheat production. Zainab is desperately looking for some help. More knowledge about the alteration in sowing dates, usage of new crop varieties, irrigation methods, advance seasonal weather forecast etc can be of help to her. Being a female, widow and very few resources to rely-on, makes Zainab not only economically but also socially and politically vulnerable in a traditional Pakistani society. The addressal of her problems requires special efforts, efforts which could be reached-out to her.

The phenomenon of climate change in the 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 suffering sections of the society.

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, 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 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 i.e. land, forests, and water.


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