Extreme Weather and Women’s Rights

This week’s extreme weather—Hurricanes Harvey and Irma close to home, and flooding and floods and drought in South Asia and East Africa—have prompted attention to the impact of human-induced global warming, but not to the gender issue driving climate change: overpopulation.

Molly Adams

People create greenhouse gases. And in the 20th century alone, the human population grew from 1.6 billion people to 6.1 billion people. And in the next 50 years, population is projected to grow past 9 billion, with most of the growth in developing nations.

Scientists have found that giving women access to contraception, as well as keeping girls in school, are among the most effective ways to reduce global carbon emissions. Yet these two fundamental rights are rarely connected to the global conversation about the environment. Too often, they’re relegated to “women’s issues” verticals on news sites, while electric cars and windmills make the front page.

You may have noticed the lack of hyperlinks above—it’s because so few are talking about this! What do you think?

This Week in Women is part of a series produced in partnership between the Ms. Blog, the Fuller Project for International Reporting and PRI’s Across Women’s Lives. This column is also part of a newsletter by Across Women’s Lives at PRI’s The World. Sign up and receive it regularly here.  



Christina Asquith is former editor for Across Women’s Lives at PRI’s The World and founder/editor in chief of the Fuller Project for International Reporting, which contributed this story and which works with Peace Is Loud on women, peace and security issues.