Dem resolution warns climate change could push women to ‘transactional sex’

Several House Democrats are calling on Congress to recognize that climate change is hurting women more than men, and could even drive poor women to "transactional sex" for survival.

The resolution, from Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and a dozen other Democrats, says the results of climate change include drought and reduced agricultural output. It says these changes can be particularly harmful for women.

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"[F]ood insecure women with limited socioeconomic resources may be vulnerable to situations such as sex work, transactional sex, and early marriage that put them at risk for HIV, STIs, unplanned pregnancy, and poor reproductive health," it says.

Climate change could also add "workload and stresses" on female farmers, which the resolution says produce 60 to 80 percent of the food in developing countries.

The chances for regional conflict also increase with climate change, the resolution says, because changing weather patterns could lead to migration and refugee crises. It said these sorts of potential conflicts over land will have a disproportionate impact on "the most vulnerable populations including women."

More broadly, the resolution says climate change will hurt "marginalized" women, such as refugees, sexual minorities, adolescent girls, and women and girls with HIV. It also cites Hurricane Katrina as evidence of how climate change can affect women, noting that the storm displaced "over 83 percent of low-income, single mothers" in the region.

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In a statement to The Hill, Lee said women are critically underrepresented in the development of climate change policy.

"My resolution will affirm the commitment to include and empower women in economic development planning and international climate change policies and practices," she said. "This will help communities adapt to climate impacts, and embark on a path towards clean and sustainable development."

The resolution calls on Congress to recognize the effects on women, and to use "gender-specific frameworks in developing policies to address climate change."

It says Congress recognizes the need for "balanced participation of men and women" in climate change adaption efforts, and that Congress will support women who are vulnerable to climate change.

Finally, it encourages the president to "integrate a gender approach in all policies and programs" related to climate change, and to ensure these policies "support women globally to prepare for, build resilience for, and adapt to climate change."

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