SDG 10: Inequality SDG 16: Institutions SDG 1: Poverty SDG 5: Gender Equality

Eighty freaking percent

If you think there is but a slight connection between gender inequality and climate resilience (SDG 5), it is time to rethink. Everything.

The Entry

It was an easy decision when I was planning this blog to go with the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals as a kinda editorial guide, since the goals chart a clear path to resilience.

But I must admit to have hesitated in those initial moments when looking at Goal 5 on gender equality. Goal 10 on inequalities in general, mostly income, is a sure thing, since the impact of inequality in worsening the impact of climate change, and therefore the need for resilience, is a no-brainer.

A few minutes later, though, I was all in on 5. Only took a bit of reflection and recalling articles, conferences and such. I can’t say the same thing about most people I talk to regarding the connection between gender equality and resilience. After this morning, I’m thinking that will no longer be so!

The first stories I saw when opening my laptop were the two linked below. Unbelievable, I said, as I picked up my jaw from the floor. Several studies conclude that a stunning 80% of folks displaced by climate change are women. Talk about gender inequality!

Addressing Goal 5 cannot be more complex, as you’ll see in the stories and the TED Talk. It takes financial rights and empowerment, more education and even swimming lessons, greater participation in climate talks, and soooo much more, mostly answers that take longer than we have before climate impacts begin to overwhelm these and other efforts.

I’ll leave you only with one thought, though, so you can dig in. I am absorbed by the dominant role of women in the intimate people networks that govern families, churches, schools, health clinics, farms, workplaces and neighborhoods — exactly the institutions at the heart of resilience.

Here’s the one thing we can move on immediately. That’s why I included SDG 16 as a tag in this post, because Targets 16.6 and 16.7 call, precisely, for stronger institutions “at all levels.” Let’s start with these levels.

The Story

How climate change affects women more than men

By Tanveer Mann, Metro, 8 March 2018

Highlight: “In a bid to tackle this major disparity, organisations are trying to improve women’s voices in policy and planning. Just 30% of representatives in national and global climate negotiating bodies are women. Diana Liverman told the BBC: ‘Women are often not involved in the decisions made about the responses to climate change, so the money ends up going to the men rather than the women.’ ”

Climate change ‘impacts women more than men’

By Mary Halton, BBC, 8 March 2018

Highlight: “After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, African American women were among the worst affected. ‘There was much higher poverty among the African American population before Katrina,’ says Jacquelyn Litt, professor of women’s and gender studies at Rutgers University. ‘More than half the poor families in the city were headed by single mothers. [They] are reliant on interdependent community networks for their everyday survival and resources. The displacement that happened after Katrina essentially eroded those networks. It places women and their children at much greater risk.’ ”

Related video


Related TED Talk



Long-time green-economy and business journalist, sustainability analyst and communications executive, including 14 years as reporter and editor of Caribbean Business in Puerto Rico, five years as Sustainability Director at two banks on the island, general manager of a green marketing agency, and since 2014 independent strategist, blogger, consultant, freelance writer, and now Editor-Publisher of The Resilience Journal and Founder-President of COMMON Future, a climate-adaptation studio scaling game-changing Next Resilience with communications, construction and culture. Alex is also communications adviser to the American Society of Adaptation Professionals and resilience lead at the Puerto Rico chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council.

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