Governance experts have urged the recognition of the contribution of women and girls in agriculture and their importance as actors in effectively adapting to climate change.
"We have seen that women are powerful agents who, with their knowledge, skills, and innovative ideas, are successfully combating the impacts of climate change," said Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF) Executive Director Shaheen Anam at a virtual programme, "Rural Women as Climate Actors," organised by MJF on Thursday to observe World Rural Women's Day 2021.
Shaheen Anam also said rural women and girls play a significant role in enhancing agricultural development and building climate resilience despite going through challenges like malnutrition, food insecurity, poverty, and more. Yet, they are excluded from decision making, which affects gender inequality and the greater resource allocation required.
As chief guest, Saber Hossain Chowdhury, chairman of the Standing Committee on Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, said, "When we discuss the development of Bangladesh, we cannot ignore the huge contribution of women in rural development and food security. But studies show women are 14% more affected than men due to climate change, so we have to help them."
The lawmaker added that the government has formed a national adaptation plan where gender discrimination issues have been addressed and given priority.
At the programme, Swedish Ambassador to Bangladesh, Alexandra Berg von Linde, said that managing family work, 60% of rural women are taking part in agriculture and livestock farming, contributing to the country's GDP. Furthermore, rural women are also taking part in the labour force in urban areas to support their families.
"Despite their contribution, they are unrecognized and sometimes face discrimination. The climate change impact has made the situation worst for them, especially for rural women. In accordance with SDG-5, gender discrimination has to be stopped," the ambassador added.
Judith Herbertson, British High Commission development director, also spoke at the programme among others.