Climate change and economic disasters provide opportunities to focus on women’s health.
The Australian Women’s Health Network (AWHN) has released a position paper which identifies the effects on women’s rights and women’s health during periods of intense climatic and economic change.
The paper titled The Impact on Women’s Health of Climate and Economic Disaster explains the effects and challenges of climate change and economic instability on women, and provides a series of recommendations for governments, organisations and individuals.
AWHN CEO Kelly Banister said:
‘For many Australian women, consequences of economic disasters can include loss of employment, employment instability, decrease in wages, high levels of stress related illness and increased male violence.’
‘Studies have suggested that in Australia the effects of climatic disaster impacts on women more than men. In the aftermath of the Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria, there was an increase in violence against women from men struggling to deal with the psychological effects of the disaster.’
‘Job losses during times of economic hardship can have many serious effects on the health of women. Some of these effects include increased financial stress on women solely responsible for dependants, lower take up of health-promoting activities, increased male violence against women and women’s reduced financial capacity to leave unsafe relationships.’
‘This is a critical time for the women’s health sector to engage with global politics. This will ensure continued improvements in women’s rights and ultimately improvements in women’s health on a global scale.’
The position paper provides a clear focus on the importance of understanding economic and political systems as a prerequisite for action on climate change and women’s inequality.
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