While climate change can be devastating for all people, especially those who depend on natural resources for incomes, environmental degradation affects women and men differently. Gender and social roles define the access men and women have to productive, natural and financial resources, and the resulting limitations tend to exacerbate the effect climate change has on women.
Family farms run by women tend to be smaller than those run by men, roughly one-half to two-thirds of the size. The smaller size and limited access to financial and productive resources means that women generally lack the funds to cover weather-related losses or adopt technologies that would make their farms more efficient and resilient to climate change, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization.
Improving the conditions of female farmers, however, could increase their farm yields by 20-30%, improve soil fertility and protect ecosystems. Investments in information systems, climate insurance, resilient crops and time-saving techniques could improve female farmers’ productivity, boosting gender equality and agriculture output at the same time.
The EcoEnterprises Fund, for example, combines support for female agriculture and employment with sustainability. Based in Latin America, the fund invests in businesses that support biodiversity, such as sustainable forestry, non-timber forest products and sustainable agriculture. The fund, which is backed by the EIB, works actively with the Kichwa community, one of the most populous indigenous groups in the Ecuadorian Amazon. The investments have helped the Kichwa community grow its tea exports while maintaining the Amazon’s biodiversity.