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Women Affected The Most By Environmental Stress: Study

Environmental stress hits women the hardest

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Women, climate change
Women in climate change hotspots in Africa and Asia are finding it difficult to make free choices under environmental stress. Pixabay

Women in climate change hotspots in Africa and Asia are finding it difficult to make free choices under environmental stress, triggered by climate change, a new study suggests.

According to the researchers, there is growing concern about sustainable and equitable adaptation in climate change hotspots – locations where climatic shifts, social structures and livelihood sensitivity converge to exacerbate vulnerability.

Drawing on data from 25 case studies across hotspots in Asia (India, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Tajikistan) and Africa (Kenya, Ghana, Namibia, Mali, Ethiopia, Senegal), the study shows how women’s agency, or ability to make meaningful choices and strategic decisions, contributes to adaptation responses.

“In a sense, women do have voice and agency, as they are actively engaging in both production and reproduction, yet this is not contributing to strengthening longer-term adaptive capacities, or indeed their wellbeing,” said study lead author Nitya Rao from University of East Anglia in the UK.

Environmental stress on women
Environmental stress leads to household strategies that place increasing responsibilities and burdens on women. Pixabay

“Our analysis suggests some common conditions, such as male migration and women’s poor working conditions, combine with either institutional failure, or poverty, to constrain women’s ability to make choices and decisions,” Rao said.

However, these barriers, if addressed in creative ways, could potentially strengthen adaptive capacities and enable more effective adaptation.

The study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, involved researchers from the UK, Nepal, India, Pakistan and South Africa.

The study argues that environmental stress weakens women’s agency even when household structures and social norms are supportive or legal entitlement available.

It leads to household strategies that place increasing responsibilities and burdens on women, especially those who are young, less educated and belong to lower classes, or marginal castes and ethnicities.

While male migration for work does contribute to enhanced income, the degree of such support is both uncertain and irregular.

Burden on women
The climate change increases the burden on women. Pixabay

Confronted with issues of everyday survival, in the absence of supportive infrastructure and services, women often work harder, in poorer conditions, and for lower wages, across the hotspots, with negative wellbeing outcomes, seen particularly in the neglect of their health and nutrition.

The study uses case studies from three distinct regions: 14 in semi-arid regions, six in mountains and glacier-fed river basins and five in deltas.

Predominant livelihoods are agriculture, livestock pastoralism and fishing, supplemented by wage labour, petty trade or business, and income from remittances.

These areas face a range of environmental risks, including droughts, floods, rainfall variability, land erosion and landslides, heat waves, coastal erosion and cyclones.

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The authors suggest, firstly, effective social protection, such as the universal public distribution system for cereals in India, or pensions and social grants in Namibia, can contribute to relieving immediate pressures on survival, creating some room for manouvre.

Secondly, rather than creating competition among individuals and households, such universal benefits can support processes that strengthen collective action at the community level. (IANS)

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Females Suffering Domestic Abuse More Prone to Long-Term illness: Study

The study, examined the general practitioner (GP) records dating between 1995 and 2017 of 18,547 women who had suffered domestic abuse

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Domestic Abuse
According to the study, survivors of Domestic Abuse can experience immense physiological and psychological stress. Pixabay

Female survivors of Domestic Abuse are at double the risk of developing long-term illnesses that cause widespread bodily pain and extreme tiredness, a new study suggests.

Published in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence, the research from Universities of Birmingham and Warwick in the UK shows that women who have experienced domestic abuse are almost twice as likely to develop fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) than those who have not.

Fibromyalgia causes pain all over the body, while CFS is an illness with a wide range of symptoms, most common of which is extreme tiredness. They are both long-term conditions.

“We have been aware that domestic abuse has significant negative effects for victims and their children. This and other related work by our team showing strong associations with several diseases suggests that the costs of abuse are even greater than understood previously,” said Indian-origin researcher and study co-author Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay from the University of Birmingham.

“The higher incidence of long-term illnesses, such as chronic fatigue syndrome, for abused women implies the existence of an additional hidden cost to society that we need to understand better,” Bandyopadhyay added.

The study, examined the general practitioner (GP) records dating between 1995 and 2017 of 18,547 women who had suffered domestic abuse, compared to 74,188 who had not.

They found the risk of developing fibromyalgia and CFS in women who have experienced domestic abuse was twice the rate of those who had no recorded experience by their GP, after taking into account factors which may influence the association.

The incidence rate ratio for developing fibromyalgia was 1.73 (1.36-2.22). The incidence rate ratio of developing CFS was 1.91 (1.11-3.33)

Domestic Abuse
Female survivors of Domestic Abuse are at double the risk of developing long-term illnesses that cause widespread bodily pain and extreme tiredness, a new study suggests. Pixabay

It comes after a previous study led by the University of Birmingham showed that UK domestic abuse victims are three times more likely to develop severe mental illnesses.

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“Considering the prevalence of domestic abuse, and the fact that patients experiencing fibromyalgia and CFS often face delays in diagnosis due to a limited understanding generally of how these conditions are caused, it is important for clinicians to bear in mind that women who have survived abuse are at a greater risk of these conditions,” Chandan added.

According to the study, survivors of Domestic Abuse can experience immense physiological and psychological stress. (IANS)