Why Women are Key to Addressing Climate Change, Hunger, Health, and Development

10/22/14
The Aspen Idea Blog

Policymakers typically address issues like climate, food security, development, and reproductive health separately. But that is not how those issues are experienced by women in developing countries. "At the ground level, these issues overlap 100 percent," said Dr. Yetnayet Asfaw of EngenderHealth during a recent dialogue on global health and development held at the IMF/World Bank Annual Meetings' Civil Society Policy Forum. At the event, which was organized by the Aspen Institute and Global Leaders Council for Reproductive Health and moderated by the Wilson Center's Sandeep Bathala, several experts there urged action to make sure that women's voices are heard in policymaking at all levels.

"We are at a pivotal moment for global development," said Lucy Wangiru Njagi of the United Nations Development Program.

Right now, several global policy negotiations are nearing critical points. World leaders are preparing to meet in Lima in December, to hammer out an agreement on climate change to be ratified in Paris next year. At the same time there is a lively debate about what will replace the Millennium Development Goals, a wide-ranging set of world development goals to address poverty by 2015. And there is the unfinished business of the Cairo population conference: 20 years after a landmark agreement on family planning and reproductive health, there are still 222 million women who lack meaningful access to these services.

Women in developing countries are...

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Above, watch a panel discussion linking reproductive health, food security, and climate change in the lead-up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP 20.