Human Rights and Women’s Disproportionate Vulnerability to Climate Change: Insights from Nigeria and Ethiopia

AGU Helen Uchenna


Changes in climate overtime due to natural variability and human activity poses a serious threat to human rights, and indeed to human existence.  Climate change has and will continue to contribute to an increase in the frequency and intensity of events which adversely affect the full enjoyment of a broad range of human rights. Women are more likely to experience the adverse effects caused by climate change than men because women constitute most of the world’s poor and are often directly dependent on natural resources that are threatened by climate change as their primary source of food and income. In developing nations of Africa, women often face systemic discrimination, cultural stereotypes and social, economic and political barriers that limit their adaptive capacity. Hence, climate change negatively affects women’s rights to food and livelihood, water, health, education and participation in environmental decision making. The paper combines theoretical insights with primary data to highlight the peculiar circumstances of women in Africa which increases their vulnerability to the adverse impacts of climate change and the extent of protection under the human rights system. Drawing on women experiences in Nigeria and Ethiopia, it argues for more attention to women's ecological, economic and human rights deficits in a changing climate and the policy implications for future efforts to address the adverse impacts of climate change.

Keywords: Gender, global warming, Africa.

DOI: 10.7176/JLPG/111-03

Publication date:July 31st 2021

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3240 ISSN (Online)2224-3259

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