Empower Mother, Empower Generation!

Empower Mother, Empower Generation!

Climate change affected every gender in every level of age. However, the impact on woman and man are dissimilar. Woman affected in multivarious way. In December 22nd occasion, Indonesia Mother’s Day, we invited a wonderful guest on an online interview. We’re talking about mother and climate change and trying to highlight mother’s role on climate action.

We had Dr. Sezin Tokar, Senior Hydrometeorological Hazard Advisor at USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA). She started her career as hydrological advisor to the National Weather Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration more than 20 years ago. On behalf BHA, she led technical on disaster risk reduction and represent US Government on various global platform related to hydrometeorology, climate and DRR.

My first question for her is what is her view on how different of climate change impact on women. Dr. Sezin Tokar agrees that climate change is not gender neutral.  Based on her experience and perspective of disaster sites. When disaster strikes women are less likely to survive and more likely to be injured due to the gender equalities that have created many disparities in terms of access to information, mobility, decision making, access to resources and sometimes cultural norms are seen pretty much in many countries.

In the aftermath of the disasters woman and girls are less able to access their relief and assistance. Further threatening their livelihood, wellbeing, recovery in that create a cycle which is cycles of vulnerability to the future disasters. Culture, religion, norms, education, law, regulations and many other factors could be the reasons. In the climate change, women endure experience the greatest impact which amplifies existing gender inequalities.

That basically poses a unique threat to all their livelihood, health, safety of an increases their risk related to again economic well-being, health, protection, safety and security.

She also emphasizes on integrating gender equality and women empowerment into all aspects of climate word is crucial that's both for mitigation and adaptation efforts. And for effective, timely, equitable and sustainable outcomes to be achieved it is a must for an include of women empowerment to the climate crisis.

Women and girl endured near the burnt off the crisis can lead to many enabling environments as she mentioned the laws, regulations, cultural and gender norms that usually discriminate against women and girls.

Intersection gender with other factors such as disability, age, race, ethnicity, social economic status, sexual orientation, makes women more vulnerable to the climate crisis. Not only because women are likely to die from natural disasters and climate at earlier ages than men but also the impacts on the treating resources especially natural resources for employment.

Women's role in food security and water security usually limited access to those resources and information. This will increase their exposure and ability impact of climate change. Greater inclusion of women helps the growth in not only family income communities, it can be more increase in productivity of agriculture, it can be water security, it can be economic development, nutrition, health and everything else but there's still a huge gap between women empowerment and gender equality around the world.

Though the key in inclusiveness of women, in many times and region, when women start to make a movement on climate action, they are not only challenged themselves but also the entire society. Dr. Tokar giving an example of how woman and men different in accessing information of early warning. In many households, men have more access through cell phones more than women in many parts of the world even though the information also announce from radio or television.

There is no silver bullet in breakthrough such challenges. Education, experiences, skills and network that makes women powerful as a change agent so climate solutions can be implemented.

It will benefit not only woman but also the whole society by creating inclusive participation and access, provide leadership opportunities such as increasing rooms access to finance resources, building women capacity and facilitate their rights in the decision making into a design of implementation, effectiveness and sustainable climate solutions. Around the world there's a lot of issues a special protection of women getting involved. Another challenge is law, regulation, cultural and religious norms.

Everybody can do something within their lives and ability. Mothers, they lay foundation and responsible for the children, the next generation. We have to take this further away. To speak from a place that relatively safe, having some freedom to voice opinion may sound pretentious.

A lot of courageous women out there despite many challenges they still get their voices heard despite pay really big price for it sometimes abuse. Majority of the countries now have women to work and give their voices heard in the political decision.  Women need to keep moving on, participate and do everything within the power to make the life better and advance for the next generation, our children.

During the pandemic, in Indonesia we heard a lot of campaign about “Strong from Home”. The campaign spreading the awareness to keep health starting from home. In term of climate change, resilience to climate disaster can also be prepared from home. Dr. Tokar share her opinion that raising the next generation with empathy, respect for all, conscious of being, welcoming diversity inclusion in every aspect of lives is important in the society whether it’s a boy or a girl. Strong from home is the smallest part of the society.

Every component of a system connected each other. If one component's fail it might lead to failure of the whole system. It's the same thing in the climate change. It starts with individuals, home, communities and translating into nations and the countries. Hence, it's important that mother raise a conscious generation, engaging children (boys and girls) not only for their own well-being but also become a better family and community members.

Mothers also plays a role on making allies and acted as positive agents to improve climate outcomes. Women are social creatures. By their social ability, women can raise awareness not only to kids and extended family member but also the networks of fathers and mothers. Strong bonds from women to make the society become more resilience and more powerful to cope with the climate change.

Furthermore Dr. Tokar explain that women and girls having unique knowledge, skills, experiences and networks that make them very important stakeholders in providing and coming up with climate solutions. Women voices are critical to gain gender justice in the climate action.

Women inability to have equal rights is not just lost for women but it is a missed opportunity and loss for our children, families, communities, nations and for the world. Countries with more women leadership and more women in the labour force do much better at excelling in the results.
Women for example make great peacemakers. A full participation of women improves conflict and humanitarian responses. It has been seen in the pandemic, in economic development and coming up with climate solutions. 

Dr. Tokar think that education and economic empowerment of women are critical. It's not only for the woman but it lifts the entire family and community especially in disaster risk reduction, woman boost early recovery after disaster and enabling to address climate change and adaptation. It's important not just for women but for the entire community so stay in school, small things that might be unimportant or irrelevant will help the next generation.
As the closing of our conversation Dr. Sezin Tokar encourage to keep raising voices, be involved in the decision making in the climate change and enable other women to participate and be part of this. Efforts and join hands are the only way to be able to get an addresses climate crisis. Hopefully, the talk we have can motivate us to be active to participate to our community and be a part of climate solution. Well, have an empowering Mother’s Day to you all. (dk)

She developed an initiative program that encourages cross-border cooperation and strengthen regional and national capacities to monitor flash floods and severe weather, issue warnings, and devise response strategies. It is The Global Flash Flood Guidance Initiative. She also acted as an advisor when the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami and Typhoon Haiyan happened in the Philippines for US disaster response.

Her working with USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) has made her viewed a lot of women in different countries impacted by climate change disaster will give an insight to us. And this is how the interview went as the winter has come to US and we exchanging warm “how are you”.


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