Climate change and women's health: Impacts and policy directions

Cecilia Sorensen, Virginia Murray, Jay Lemery, John Balbus
Created: 6/28/2019 -


Summary points

  • Climate change impacts on health—including increased exposures to heat, poor air quality, extreme weather events, altered vector-borne disease transmission, reduced water quality, and decreased food security—affect men and women differently, depending on local geographic and socioeconomic factors.

  • Climate change threatens to widen existing gender-based health disparities, especially in low- and middle-income countries.

  • Health impacts, and gender differences in those impacts, are mediated through socioeconomic, cultural, and physiologic factors. Policy action targeted towards these factors, which are often modifiable, can decrease negative health outcomes.

  • Integration of a gendered perspective into existing climate, development, and disaster-risk reduction policy frameworks requires improvement in data acquisition, monitoring of gender-specific targets, coordination between sectors, and equitable stakeholder engagement.

  • Empowering women as educators, caregivers, holders of knowledge, and agents of social change can improve mitigation and adaptation policy interventions.

Published On


Sector Addressed
Climate Justice
Development (socioeconomic)
Public Health
Rural / Indigenous Livelihoods
Type of Adaptation Action/Strategy
Capacity Building
Target Climate Changes and Impacts
Public health risks