Climate Change Solutions: Empowering Women and Girls through Reproductive Choice

The realisation of the sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) of women and girls and the advancement of gender equality are linked to sustainable population and climate change in many ways. It is well documented that women and girls are most affected by climate vulnerability, and that their reproductive health and rights are negatively impacted by climate change. Providing reproductive choice to women and girls can improve the health and resilience of women and their communities, enhancing their ability to prepare for and adapt to climate change. Women wishing to delay or cease child bearing who are provided with reproductive choice can also contribute to sustainable population growth, decrease consumption and lower emissions.

Sexual and reproductive health offers a practical solution to climate challenges, mitigating and preventing a variety of consequences resulting from extreme weather events and natural disasters, unsustainable population growth and rising sea levels including:

- Poverty Reduction and Strengthening Economies: When women can exercise reproductive choice, they are more likely to participate in education and the workforce. In most developing countries, female participation in the formal economy has increased as fertility has fallen. Women’s participation in the economy promotes economic growth and economies that are strong are better able to absorb the disturbances of climate change and recover from climate related events.
- Sustainable Population Growth: Scaling up access to voluntary, high quality sexual and reproductive health services in areas vulnerable to climate change can reduce the pressure that rapid population growth has on the living environment and reduce the harms associated with increasing numbers of people being exposed to climate risks.
- Women’s Participation and Leadership: Women’s participation and leadership is important to climate change preparedness, resilience and action. Enabling women to control their bodies and reproductive health can help create opportunities for women to participate, lead and contribute to the conversation.

For more information, download the position paper.

Marie Stopes International Australia