Hillary Clinton calls for gender-responsive climate policies, highlights challenges faced by women in India


Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pointed at challenges faced by women in India while advocating “the critical need for gender-responsive climate policies”. She was speaking at a session on Empowering Communities: Women at the Heart of Climate Resilience at COP28 UAE – United Nations Climate Change Conference.

Clinton spoke about unified local solutions to fight climate change on Sunday. She said that extreme heat, caused by climate change, is posing a threat to livelihoods, human health, and its impacts are harmful to women. She said that extreme heat is one of the most dangerous fallouts of the changing climate, especially in India.

“While we race to find big changes and transitions, we have to worry about what’s happening on the ground with so many millions of people, especially women in India,” Clinton said. Referring to her association with the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) in India, Clinton spoke of the impact of extreme heat on women working in the informal sector.

Clinton and Reema Nanavaty, director of SEWA, highlighted the urgent need for actionable solutions and advocated for global collaboration to create a sustainable and resilient future for women in India and beyond.

“This is not just a health issue; it is an economic issue, a social issue, a political issue that I’m thrilled we are raising the visibility,” Clinton said, stressing the integral role women play in India’s informal sector where workers are engaged in labor-intensive occupations. “We observe legislative changes that diminish women’s roles, pushing them to step back from the economy and eroding the rights of women striving for equality,” Clinton remarked.

Reema Nanavaty, Director of SEWA, also highlighted the challenges posed by climate change on women workers in India. Elaborating on the difficulties encountered by street vendors, construction workers, and people involved in other occupations, Nanavaty said that there is an urgent need for this Global Climate Resilience Fund for women, especially in India. “This will be the first of its kind, a fund for the Global South, and this is a bottom-up fund,” Nanavaty said, echoing Clinton’s call for a targeted and comprehensive initiative to address the impact of extreme heat on women workers in India.


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