Women should lead the fight against climate change

Women suffer more from the effects of climate change according to the report "Climate Change and Health" by DKV

El cambio climático afecta en mayor medida a las mujeres según el informe “Cambio Climático y Salud” de DKV que, con el objetivo de demostrar el papel fundamental que el medio ambiente juega en la salud y en la calidad de vida de las personas, ha realizado el Observatorio de Salud y Medioambiente del Instituto DKV de la Vida Saludable, en colaboración con ECODES.

The report explains the impact of climate change on health and its relationship with poverty, gender equity and childhood. It also addresses its negative social consequences and considers the actions needed to tackle this impact. Some consequences affect children and women to a greater extent.

Women are affected the most by climate change

Climate change exacerbates poverty, increases social injustices, amplifies imbalance in power and decision-making and, in turn, political conflicts, and also affects food safety. In many parts of the world, women do not enjoy the same conditions as men, and also suffer more from economic, social and political marginalisation: the fact that women are excluded from decision-making and have limited access to financial and material resources are two reasons why they are more vulnerable to the impact of climate change.

Furthermore, women make up the majority of the population with the highest concentration of poverty caused by factors related to climate change. As a result, climate change particularly increases the level of poverty and the vulnerability of women and girls, as it is estimated that around 60% of the population with malnutrition and chronic starvation are women or girls. Si las mujeres que se dedican a la agricultura tuvieran el mismo acceso que los hombres a recursos productivos, el número de personas con hambre podría reducirse entre 100 y 150 millones.

Health, climate change and gender

There is a clear relationship between climate change and health: the illnesses responsible for the greatest number of deaths in the world (pneumonia, strokes, and cardiovascular problems) are directly related to the environmental effects of climate change. But although climate change affects the entire population, the impact of the diseases that it causes is different for men and women. This is because women have less access than men to medical services. One of the most significant consequences is malaria: out of the 50 million pregnant women who live in endemic countries, around 10 thousand die from this disease.

An unequal society

Women also face other barriers related to employment, which further increases the impact of climate change: they work more hours per week without the right to take breaks, they earn lower salaries, and their access to social security and occupational health is more limited. The income difference between men and women varies between 30% and 80%. This impact is particularly significant for women who live in rural areas due to difficulty accessing housing and financing. Therefore, climate change affects them much more directly.

Women as agents of change

Fighting climate change may be the world's best chance in the 21st century to achieve better health and social well-being. In this fight, women must become principal agents of change. Therefore, women must be involved in decision-making and designing policies and real economy. Likewise, they should participate in institutions and collaborate in the design of policies, laws, institutions, and strategies to counteract the vulnerability of society as a whole to climate change.

DKV and the DKV Healthy Life Institute

The DKV Healthy Life Institute is an initiative created to promote the improvement of people's health and life by providing information and training aimed at instilling healthy habits, boosting prevention, and promoting the value of exercise and habits for a healthy life.

To consult the complete observatory: https://eng.dkvseguros.com/salud/instituto/observatorio/cambio-climatico-y-salud-2

DKV understands how important it is for companies to go beyond making financial profits, and to assume their ethical, social and environmental responsibility through actions aimed at interest groups. As an insurance company, DKV endeavours to create a healthier world in the fields of healthcare, the environment, childhood obesity, the labour integration of people with disabilities, and active ageing.

The DKV Group is present through Spain with an extensive network of health insurance offices (https://eng.dkvseguros.com/seguros-medicos-particulares/) and consultancies, where close to 2,000 employees serve nearly 2 million customers.