WHISE sits in a region that includes rural peri-urban areas impacted by natural disasters such as fire, flood and drought. The areas on the edge of Melbourne from Cardinia Shire through to the Mornington Peninsula have experienced the impact of climate change. Increasingly, the impact has been felt throughout other parts of our region which has had a flow on impact to urban areas.
The impact of climate change occurs across all aspects and all stages of a woman’s life. Indeed, climate change exacerbates the existing health disparities, inequalities and vulnerabilities (Asian-Pacific Resource & Research Centre for Women, 2017).
As noted by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), women, especially those in poverty, face higher risks and experience a greater burden of climate change impacts. This is notably true for health impacts, making climate change a risk multiplier for gender-based health disparities. Both men and women are at risk for amplified health impacts.
(Sorensen, et al., 2018)
The risks to women are categorised, reported and listed through such organisations as the World Health Organisation, International Red Cross and the United Nations Framework on Climate Change. For women, the impacts include decreased life expectancy and disproportionate mortality, higher risk of physical, sexual and domestic violence (especially in the aftermath of disasters), amplified impact on mental health (increased risk with other overlapping factors such as socioeconomic and education level), and increased vulnerability through pregnancy (Sorensen, et al., 2018).