WWWD? What Would Women Do?

Hundreds of millions of women and girls are currently trapped in a vicious cycle of poverty, with limited resources and choices.  In fact, as I learned in class, 70% of the 1.3 billion people living in the deepest level of poverty worldwide are women.  This provides a dilemma when considering who will face the costs of climate change first.  The fact is that women are carrying the burden of climate change consequences – climate change is not gender neutral. This consequently has a ripple effect that impacts entire communities and countries socially, economically, and environmentally.  This relationship between population and the environment are inextricably connected and they affect each other on many levels, starting with an increased use of resources.

There is not always one solution, but ethically combating climate change with education is an important step.  A girl has not control over her life when she lives in poverty.  Yet, an educated woman will less likely be faced with HIV, youth marriages and pregnancy, and hunger.  Without all of these pressures, she is able to thrive.  Education will lead to the knowledge of family planning and empowerment, and thus be able to control when they are having children and how often.  She can give more attention to the children already has.  She will more likely encourage them to go to school as well. They can build a life that does not revolve around the vicious cycle of poverty. The girl effect.

Putting aside the fact that educating poverty-stricken girls to improve their lifestyle, what does this have to do with environment? The growth of population has been inextricably linked to deforestation and the decline of fresh water availability.  However, women have great adaptive capacity and are essential as leaders.  If a woman’s life is changed simply by education, her resilience will spread to her community. Women are most often the population gathering domestic resources for her family – she is seeing the effects of population increase on the resources she depends on to sustain her family.  Women can create the adaptive and mitigation changes that are needed in the world; they just need the appropriate resources, starting with the education and promotion of women.

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  1. #1 by ryahiel on December 9, 2010 - 8:56 pm

    I learned about The Girl Effect from one of the women I worked with during my internship this summer (Sierra Club’s Global Population and Environment Program)! Isn’t it great? I also loved the uplifting message at the end – that things CAN change, and girl DO want to change! During the most recent class period, we talked about conversations several of us have had with our friends and family about (for instance) vegetarianism and Ecofeminism. We all agreed that there are different talking tactics and strategies that one could take with a different person in oder for them HEAR what we are saying. For instance, your mother might like the idea of growing a backyard garden because your family would get to eat more fresh veggies. Yet, your father is sold on a different idea – the economics of saving money on veggies by sustaining a garden in the backyard. Either direction, you have made a leaping change in you family by bringing home the ideas that we have been learning from class and from each other. And THESE transfers of knowledge that we have seen in this class is why I have enjoyed this semester. I have learned so much, just by listening and hearing other people opinions and how other people approach obstacles that I also face. Props EcoFem!!!

    Also, I just watched “The Day My God Died.” Wow. What an excellent movie – it captured the story very well and was very moving… I cannot even imagine the strength those girls have to survive that ordeal. What sickened me the most was to see the Madame speak and insist that she was reformed in her ways. I wanted to jump into the screen and yell at her SO LOUD (and that is me being calm…)! Sickening… A grown WOMAN making GIRLS into sex slaves. How can she sleep at night?
    I also wanted to jump in and give the advocate, Anuradha Koirala, and HUGE HUG 😀 She seems absolutely wonderful

  2. #2 by agilmore on December 9, 2010 - 4:31 am

    I just watched both the video on Youtube and the follow-up on the organizations website. How did you find this, Rebecca? I actually teared up when it got to the redeeming part and the cartoon girl was avoiding the creepy hands. It’s a very positive feeling one is left with after watching the brief film, and I appreciate that they don’t leave the audience with a doomsday feeling. I’m excited to see what you come up with for your final paper. By the way, check out the documentary “The Day My God Died” about sex-trafficking in Southeast Asia and how girls are ending the cycle of abuse. It’s pretty depressing for first half so stick with till the end.

  3. #3 by ryahiel on December 6, 2010 - 12:04 am


    Everyone: Watch it! What do you think?

  4. #4 by Susannah on November 19, 2010 - 4:38 pm

    Great start! Check out the blog posts offered by Maggie and others and make connections with your colleagues around this issue. I agree with Sarah that it will be more effective to focus on a particular geography or policy emphasis.

  5. #5 by Professor Brylinsky on November 12, 2010 - 3:39 am

    You will find many resources for this topic – excellent choice. To keep the focus of your paper manageable, I recommend picking a particular geography, or policy emphasis, linking poverty, women, and population. For instance, much has been written about these intersections in developing nations like India and Pakistan.

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