Women's Earth & Climate Action Network, International
The Women's Earth & Climate Action Network is a solutions-based, multi-faceted effort established to engage women worldwide to take action as powerful stakeholders in climate change and sustainability solutions. For Our Earth and Future Generations A project of Women's Earth and Climate Caucus and its partner eraGlobal Alliance
« Fresh Water, Oceans, Climate Science

Women and Climate Change in the Andean Region; Access to water and food security

photo of Carmen Capriles

Started by: CarmenCapriles


Women and Climate Change in the Andean Region; Access to water and food security

Much of this fresh water available in the Andean region is in the form of glaciers. The increase in global temperature has already led to the loss of permafrost in several summits, like Chacaltaya glacier located at 5,200 meters above sea level has being gone since 2009. This alarming fact has a big impact the people who depend on water from snow-ice melting for domestic supply, productive activities and in many cases power supply. In the Andean highlands, agriculture is the one of the most important activities mostly because is the main food resource and is based on irrigation by gravity, leading to an inefficient use of water. Irrigation one of the main activities and takes a great deal of time. Nevertheless, the participation of women is low mainly due to the fact that harnessing irrigation waters from melting glaciers is both tedious and harsh. Water usually reach very low temperatures, often just above freezing point. 

Reasons for working in this topic, project or business:

The problems women face in the rural area are not understood by urban societies, as long as food is in the table , therefore underestimating  the power of their decision and the effects on other sector of the population. 

Root causes of the problems in this field and main barriers:

The threats of climate change are not gender neutral and there is a clear need for gender equity in mitigation and adaptation strategies: Countries should make sure mitigation and adaptation strategies take into account the rights and needs of women and ensure equitable sharing of the costs and benefits, not only between countries and generations but also between men and women.

What is needed to overcome barriers to implement solutions:

I belive is necessary to work on issues that are directly affected by climate change such as water access, supply and availability, food security and sovereignty, as well as alternative, renewable, sustainable and low-cost energy sources. In all cases, goals should focus on integrating women into key roles and ensuring women and men have the necessary information, the appropriate technology and the resources to face these challenges. 

Specific needs and/or support requests:

More information is needed, especially identifying the potential socio-economical impacts of climate change and their direct effect on women. As well as political will to find long term solutions that can help overcome impacts.


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You are quite correct Carmen. I witnessed a vanishing glacier in Peru. Visiting in 2009 I saw what was left of a glacier in the Andes in southern Peru, but when I returned in 2010 the mountain was black - no ice. This in a region important to agriculture and being increasingly used for copper mining which also depletes the scarce fresh water available. As women we can start to ask ourselves: do we really need that jewelry??? How much metal do we use. About 50% of gold that is mined is processed into jewelry and most of the remaining is stored in vaults for investment. A small percentage is used for medical and industrial uses but couldn't we really do without the bling and invest in something more sustainable.