‘Man-made problem with a feminist touch’

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Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland and current president of Realizing Rights. Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) – Women must be at the heart of climate action if the world is to limit the deadly impact of disasters such as floods, former Irish president and UN rights commissioner Mary Robinson said on Monday.

Robinson, also a former UN climate envoy, said women were most adversely affected by disasters and yet are rarely “put front and centre” of efforts to protect the most vulnerable.

“Climate change is a man-made problem and must have a feminist solution,” she said at a meeting of climate experts at London’s MarshallInstitute for Philanthropy and Entrepreneurship.

“Feminism doesn’t mean excluding men, it’s about being more inclusive of women and -in this case – acknowledging the role they can play in tackling climate change.”

In many developing countries, for example, women are involved in food production, but are not allowed to manage the cash earned by selling their crops, said Robinson.

The lack of access to financial resources can hamper their ability to cope with extreme weather, she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation on the sidelines of the event.

“Women all over the world are … on the frontlines of the fall-out from climate change and therefore on the forefront of climate action,” said Natalie Samarasinghe, executive director of Britain’s United Nations Association.

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