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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 12 December 2020


NOTE: Please remember that following ‘answers’ are NOT ‘model answers’. They are NOT synopsis too if we go by definition of the term. What we are providing is content that both meets demand of the question and at the same time gives you extra points in the form of background information.


General Studies – 1


 

1. Write a note on the contributions made by Mahakavi Subramanya Bharathi, the pioneer of modern Tamil poetry. (250 words)

Reference: News on Air

Introduction:

Mahakavi Subramanya Bharati was a Tamil writer, poet, journalist, Indian independence activist, social reformer and polyglot. Popularly known as “Mahakavi Bharathi”, he was a pioneer of modern Tamil poetry and is considered one of the greatest Tamil literary figures of all time. His numerous works included fiery songs kindling patriotism during the Indian Independence movement.

Body:

Bharathi: A poet and a Nationalist

  • Significantly, a new age in Tamil literature began with Subramaniya Bharathi.
  • Most part of his compositions are classifiable as short lyrical outpourings on patriotic, devotional and mystic themes.
  • Bharathi was essentially a lyrical poet.
  • “Kannan Pattu”, “Nilavum Vanminum Katrum”, “Panchali Sabatam”, “Kuyil Pattu” are examples of Bharathi’s great poetic output.
  • Bharathi is considered as a national poet due to his number of poems of the patriotic flavour through which he exhorted the people to join the independence struggle and work vigorously for the liberation of the country.
  • Instead of merely being proud of his country he also outlined his vision for a free India. He published the sensational “Sudesa Geethangal” in 1908.

Bharathi as a Journalist:

  • Many years of Bharathi’s life were spent in the field of journalism, Bharathi, as a young man began his career as a journalist and as a sub-editor in “Swadesamitran” in November 1904.
  • “India” saw the light of the day in May, 1906. It declared as its motto the three slogans of the French Revolution, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.
  • It blazed a new trail in Tamil Journalism. In order to proclaim its revolutionary ardour, Bharathi had the weekly printed in red paper.
  • “India” was the first paper in Tamil Nadu to publish political cartoons.
  • He also published and edited a few other journals like “Vijaya”.
  • During his exile, Bharathi had the opportunity to mingle with many leaders of the militant wing of the independence movement such as Aurobindo, Lajpat Rai and V.V.S. Aiyar, who had also sought asylum in the French, Pondicherry.

Role in freedom struggle:

  • In his early days of youth, he had good relations with Nationalist Tamil Leaders like V.O. Chidambaram, Subramanya Siva, Mandayam Thirumalachariar and Srinivasachari.
  • Along with these leaders he used to discuss the problems facing the country due to British rule.
  • Bharathi used to attend the Annual sessions of Indian National Congress and discuss national issues with extremist Indian National Leaders like Bipin Chandra Pal, B.G. Tilak and V.V.S. Iyer.
  • His participation and activities in Benaras Session (1905) and Surat Session (1907) of the Indian National Congress impressed many national leaders about his patriotic fervour.
  • Bharathi had maintained good relations with some of the national leaders and shared his thoughts and views on the nation and offered his suggestions to strengthen the nationalist movement.
  • Undoubtedly, his wise suggestions and steadfast support to the cause of nationalism rejuvenated many national leaders.
  • Thus Bharathi played a pivotal role in the freedom of India.

Bharathi as a social reformer:

  • Bharathi was also against caste system.
  • He declared that there were only two castes-men and women and nothing more than that.
  • Above all, he himself had removed his sacred thread.
  • He had also adorned many Dalits with sacred thread.
  • He used to take tea sold in shops run by Muslims.
  • He along with his family members attended church on all festival occasions.
  • He advocated temple entry of Dalits.
  • For all his reforms, he had to face opposition from his neighbours.
  • But Bharathi was very clear that unless Indians unite as children of Mother India, they could not achieve freedom.
  • He believed in women’s rights, gender equality and women emancipation. He opposed child marriage, dowry and supported widow remarriage.

Conclusion:

Bharathi as a poet, journalist, freedom fighter and social reformer had made a great impact not only on the Tamil society but also on the entire human society. He followed what all he preached and it is here that his greatness is manifested. His prophecy during the colonial period about the independence of India came true after two and half decades after his demise. His vision about a glorious India has been taking a shape in the post-Independence era. Bharathi did not live for himself but for the people and nation. That is why he is respectfully called as Bharathiyar.

 

2. Discuss the concept of Geomagnetic storm and also explain how it affects the space weather around the earth. (250 words)

Reference: Indian Express 

Introduction:

Geomagnetic storms are brief disturbances in Earth’s magnetic field and atmosphere (magnetosphere) caused by bursts of radiation and charged particles emitted from the Sun. When this solar matter collides with our planet at high speeds, the surrounding magnetic field deflects it towards the poles. There it interacts with gases deeper in the atmosphere to emit ‘curtains’ of light known as auroras. Meanwhile, the fast-moving charges create an intense magnetic field of their own, inducing another set of electrical currents on the ground far below.

Body:

Geomagnetic storms:

  • The varying conditions in the magnetosphere, known as space weather, are largely driven by solar activity.
  • If the solar wind is weak, the magnetosphere expands; while if it is strong, it compresses the magnetosphere and more of it gets in.
  • Periods of intense activity, called geomagnetic storms, can occur when a coronal mass ejection erupts above the Sun and sends a shock wave through the Solar System. It takes just two days to reach the Earth.
  • At the Earth’s surface, a magnetic storm is seen as a rapid drop in the Earth’s magnetic field strength.

Classification of Geomagnetic storms:

  • Geomagnetic storms are classified according to a scale that measures the effect that storms will have.
  • At its safest level, a G1 storm affects power grids by causing weak fluctuations, minor impacts on satellite operations, and causes the northern and southern lights to occur.
  • At its most extreme, G5, there would be voltage control problems with some grid system collapses or blackouts, radio waves wouldn’t be able to travel for one to two days, low-frequency radio would be out for hours, and the auroras would be able to be seen at lower latitudes than usual.

Impacts on space weather:

  • The ionosphere gets heated and distorted, which means that long-range radio communication that is dependent upon sub-ionospheric reflection can be difficult.
  • Ionospheric expansion can increase satellite drag, and it may become difficult to control their orbits.
  • The local heating also creates strong horizontal variations in the in the ionospheric density that can modify the path of radio signals and create errors in the positioning information provided by GPS.
  • While the storms create beautiful aurora, they also can disrupt navigation systems such as the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) and create harmful geomagnetic induced currents (GICs) in the power grid and pipelines.
  • Geomagnetic storms disrupt satellite communication systems like GPS.
  • Astronauts and high-altitude pilots would face high radiation levels.
  • Electric power grids would see a high increase in voltage that would cause blackouts.

Conclusion:

Northern Lights, also known as aurora borealis, are usually witnessed far up in the polar regions or the high latitude regions of Europe, like in Norway. Recently, they could be visible in regions that are more to the south, such as in the northern parts of Illinois and Pennsylvania in the US.

The Space Weather Prediction Center at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said the electromagnetic storm could be growing to major status on Thursday, causing the Northern Lights to be visible in more number of areas than usual.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

3. The covid-19 pandemic has forced our policymakers to strengthen management of migrant labour in India. In this context discuss the measures that must be taken for the welfare of Migrant laborers in the country. (250 words)

Reference: Financial Express 

Introduction:

The migrant labour crisis faced by the country during the lockdown has created a consensus amongst policymakers on the need to strengthen management of migrant labour in India. The Covid-19 pandemic has brought to the fore many deep-rooted problems of the economic and social fabric of India. Some of the worst-hit sectors like construction, hospitality and manufacturing are among the largest employers of migrant and contractual workers. These workers live on subsistence wages, have no alternative earnings, and lack both social and financial security. The complete shutdown of the economy impacted this group the most, which resulted in a mass exodus and multiple tragedies associated with it. Such unprecedented crisis unveiled the gaps and loopholes in our labour management and administrative policies.

Body:

Prime Minister recently announced an economic package totalling Rs 20 lakh crore to tide over the Covid-19 crisis under ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’. The Rs 20 lakh crore package includes the government’s recent announcements on supporting key sectors and measures by Reserve Bank of India. the economic package would be around the 10 per cent of the GDP. The package is expected to focus on land, labour, liquidity and laws. It will cater to various sections including cottage industry, MSMEs, labourers, middle class, and industries, among others.

Aatmanirbhar Bharat scheme for migrants:

  • One Nation One Card:
    • Migrant workers will be able to access the Public Distribution System (Ration) from any Fair Price Shop in India by March 2021 under the scheme of One Nation One Card.
    • The scheme will introduce the inter-state portability of access to ration for migrant labourers.
    • By August 2020 the scheme is estimated to cover 67 crore beneficiaries in 23 states (83% of PDS population).
    • All states/union territories are required to complete full automation of fair price shops by March 2021 for achieving 100% national portability.
  • Free food grain Supply to migrants:
    • Migrant workers who are not beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act ration card or state card will be provided 5 kg of grains per person and 1 kg of chana per family per month for two months.
    • Rs 3,500 crore will be spent on this scheme, and eight crore migrants are estimated to benefit under it.
  • Affordable Rental Housing Complexes (ARHC) for Migrant Workers / Urban Poor:
    • The migrant labour/urban poor will be provided living facilities at affordable rent under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY).
    • This will be achieved by:
    • converting government funded housing in the cities into ARHCs through PPPs.
    • incentivizing manufacturing units, industries, institutions, associations to develop ARHCs on their private land and operate them.

Way forward:

  • Creation of a digital labour database:
    • A national labour database (local and migrant), linked with Aadhaar and Jan Dhan accounts, can help capture and monitor various indicators like wage-trends, skillsets, education, etc.
    • Mandating all employers to update the database with details of their permanent and well as contractual workers would ensure the plugging of any data gaps.
    • It will also boost formalization of the unorganized sector and aid in upholding of human rights.
  • Preventing migration of labour:
    • It is crucial to focus on dispersing economic growth across the country by creating growth centers in the less industrialized and backward regions.
    • Initiatives such as One District One Product (ODOP) could be game-changers in tackling migration of labour, and a well-thought-out policy/package for industries should be drafted to encourage industries to relocate to tier 3-4 cities.
  • Upskilling labour:
    • Setting up labour-industry linkages through Skilled Labour Banks would ensure labourers are registered in their local/regional skill banks, which can then be accessed by industry and skills training institutes.
    • Industry could suggest requirements and hire local labourers, and if there is a supply gap, industry-linked training and upskilling could be done for the workers through the PPP mode.
    • Technology platforms can be set up at the national and state levels, which can help in identifying industry’s region-specific demand and providing skills-training accordingly.
  • Private sector participation:
    • Policy initiatives and the role of private sector to create conducive living conditions by providing rental housing facilities for labourers working near industrial areas is the need of the hour.
    • This can further be linked with schemes like the PMAY (Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana).
  • Financial safety net:
    • It is important to enhance the coverage of pension for unorganized sector and labourers.
    • The Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Mandhan (PMSYM) is the right initiative to ensure financial security by making a corpus available for times of exigencies and retirement.
    • The scheme could be linked with the labour data bank of each state in order to ensure deeper and wider coverage and awareness.
    • This will also require creating financial discipline and literacy amongst labourers for micro-savings.
  • Social security framework:
    • One Nation, One Ration Card scheme of India is a well-thought-out scheme and is the need of the hour.
    • At present, 28 states/Union territories have been brought under this scheme.
    • This can also be linked with the digital labour databases for efficient food management and improved governance, bringing transparency to the Public Distribution System.

Conclusion:

In today’s world, where “social and economic inclusion” is one of the major priorities of nation, India will have to quickly look at such reforms to bridge the existing disparities. A virtuous cycle of social and financial security, access to health and education and providing sustainable employment is critical for India to be a developed economy. These initiatives would require both government and private stakeholders to join hands and implement these reforms.

 


General Studies – 3


 

4. Analyse the role of Agriculture as an informal social net particularly during the current crisis time caused by the pandemic.(250 words)

Reference: Hindustan Times 

Introduction:

India’s agriculture policies have had multiple mandates, including a production imperative (national food security), a consumer imperative (keeping food prices low for a large low-income population), and a farmer welfare imperative (raising farmer’s income).

Body:

Prospects of Agriculture:

  • High frequency indicators available for the rural economy are suggesting stable conditions with good rainfall likely to boost output.
  • Cumulative rainfall between June 1 and July 9 was 13% higher than the long period average, according to data by the Indian Meteorological Department.
  • Area sown under kharif crops rose by 88.2% to 432.97 lakh hectares as on July 3. To be sure, last year sowing was delayed due to late rains.
  • All these factors bode well for output. In addition, farm prices have improved compared to previous years. Food and beverage inflation rose by 7.4% in May, according to government data.
  • Based on estimates of nominal agricultural GDP and the momentum of volume growth and inflation, farm income is estimated to grow by about 10-11% in the financial year ending March 2021.
  • Incremental agricultural GDP is estimated to increase by over Rs 3.4 lakh crore in FY21 and by Rs 3.3 lakh crore in FY20 compared to an increase of Rs 1.3 lakh crore in FY19.

Role of Agriculture as an informal social net:

  • To be clear, there are two types of safety nets that are needed in developing countries.
  • The first is a protection against chronic poverty and unemployment in normal times.
  • This is the objective behind Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, the largest State-sponsored formal Programme of this type.
  • The second provides protection against a sudden crisis, such as the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • when the pandemic broke out, we do not have a formal State-financed social safety net infrastructure that is adequate for such a situation.
  • Safety nets for crisis situations are critical for developing economies that have adopted a market-led growth strategy.
  • Markets are useful in driving higher rates of growth over time, but they are also much more vulnerable to many types of shocks.
  • Since poor and vulnerable citizens do not have adequate savings for these hard times, these shocks expose them to health and even life risks during these periods.
  • In the absence of formal safety nets, they turn to informal community-based support systems.
  • In India, a significant section of wage earners who work in small towns or large cities still have their links with their villages intact.
  • For these people, agriculture and allied sectors in their villages remain the informal safety net – a source of income if a crisis shuts down their principal livelihood in urban areas.
  • For those who have lost these rural family links, the only alternative during these crises remains the informal retail sector – the fruit and vegetable carts.
  • The importance of agriculture as an informal social safety net became clear during the reverse migration that India experienced after the imposition of the first lockdown.
  • The only reason so many migrants took such a decision was based on their trust that the agricultural sector would save their lives.
  • In his book, How Asia Works, Joe Studwell describes a similar phenomenon in Taiwan during the first oil crisis in the mid-1970s, where close to 200,000 factory workers returned to farming.
  • Such temporary reverse migrations in slack periods are also common in China.
  • In contrast to these experiences, Studwell suggests that countries ranging from 18th-century Britain to the Philippines in recent times, which are characterized by larger-scale farming, have ended up with “legions of indigent poor or acres of squatter camps”.
  • Another example of this phenomenon is contemporary South Africa, which has a significantly large group of poor and vulnerable people.
  • But agriculture in South Africa is in the hand of a few large farms and plantation owners and, as a result, it fails as an informal social safety net.
  • One of the effects of this is high crime rates in South African cities.

What does all of this mean for India and, more specifically, for our agricultural policies?

  • The reforms initiated by the government are an attempt to move the agricultural sector away from the current institutional arrangements controlled by the arhtiyas towards more corporatized agricultural marketing.
  • This is a change that is inevitable, given the market-led growth strategy that we have adopted since the 1990s.
  • As agriculture becomes more corporatized – with the participation of large retail companies as their clients – farms will also be forced to consolidate.
  • The logic of such consolidation is in the interest of both the corporate buyers and the farms.
  • Large retail companies will prefer to deal with larger farms in order to cut their procurement costs. Farmers, on the other hand, will be under pressure to consolidate in order to bargain more effectively with these companies.
  • There are various ways through which this change in average farm size can and will happen.
  • Over time, this will lead to more families moving out of agriculture and agriculture becoming more capital and technology-intensive.
  • One important fallout of this change is that the sector will lose its ability to provide a social safety net to the poor and vulnerable, in times of a crisis.
  • This possibility, however, does not justify turning our backs to market-led reforms in agriculture.

agriculture

Way forward:

  • We just need to recognize that commercialized agricultural development will become a risky social project unless it is accompanied with the development of formal State-sponsored social safety net mechanisms on a comparable scale.
  • This is an enormous administrative exercise that will need to identify the vulnerable and implement mechanisms to reach them in time. If we commercialize agriculture but fail to build these alternative safety nets, the next economic shock will lead to a costly urban crisis in India.

 

5. What is a gig industry? How has the pandemic reshaped the gig economy in the country? Discuss. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Introduction:

According to the Oxford Internet Institute’s ‘Online Labor Index’, India leads the global gig economy with a 24% share of the online labor market, with demand for software developers, creative and marketing professionals.

Body:

Gig economy:

  • A gig economy is a free market system in which temporary positions are common and organizations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements
  • Examples of gig employees in the workforce could include freelancers, independent contractors, project-based workers and temporary or part-time hires.
  • An estimated 56% of new employment in India is being generated by the gig economy companies across both the blue-collar and white-collar workforce.

Pandemic reshaped the gig economy in the country:

  • With the long-held skepticism regarding a gig workforce’s efficiency and dependability been wiped out by the pandemic- induced remote work regime, more and more corporates are comfortable hiring this new breed of talented people
  • The present coronavirus pandemic has changed the way businesses are conducted not only in India but all across the world.
  • Due to the forced work from remote culture, many companies are realizing its advantage on stressed cash flow.
  • Many companies have remodeled their operations as per business continuity plan and prefer to hire freelance talent under the given market scenario.
  • While the model has been slowly accepted by employers, employee and government, this sector observes lot of skill gaps.
  • Constant upskilling and reskilling will be required for such talents to stay industry relevant and market ready.
  • Rapid digitization has led to the disruption in the labor market.
  • Technology here plays an important role in galvanizing the scope of independent work regardless of the geographical boundaries.
  • Independence of the project as well as flexibility of work hours has become the new work mantra which has redefined the meaning of labor.

Skill Upgradation:

  • In the present scenario, India stands to lose around 135 million jobs due to the pandemic.
  • Many of them could be guided towards building skill sets to suit freelance work opportunities and be a part of this growing flex or gig economy.
  • A gig worker gets the freedom to work for several employers at the same time while retaining his freedom.
  • It is a shift from a regular 9-5 job to an on-demand kind of work, where the worker also gets the freedom to choose his remuneration.
  • It gives the workforce the freedom to accommodate both the work and family along with the preference to choose the projects that suit them best.

Current Scenario:

  • Industry bodies have been conducting several studies on this parallel economy and just before the advent of the pandemic had predicted India’s gig economy to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 17 per cent to touch $455 billion in the next three years.
  • India at present has around 15 million freelance workers engaged in projects in sectors like IT, HR, and designing. In comparison, there are almost 53 million independent workers in the US.
  • The present Covid-19 scenario would push more of the conventional workforces towards the gig economy in India.
  • India’s workforce is adding almost four million people every year, this would have a big impact on the gig economy in the near future.
  • Even in India, firms are shrinking in size, giving rise to a large number of start-ups specialized in taking up non-core activities on contractual basis.

‘Gig’ economy is creating lakhs of jobs, but workers don’t see a future:

  • The recent Periodic Labour Force Survey from the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation shows unemployment rate at a 45-year high, at 6.1%; the highest levels of joblessness is among urban youth.
  • Other reports show that over the past two years domestic consumption has reduced, industrial growth has flatlined, private investments are lower, and market volatility has hit drivers of employment.
  • And so, not surprisingly, many, including undergraduates and diploma holders, now look at the gig economy as a stop-gap solution until the market turns.
  • Human resources firm Team Lease estimates that 13 lakh Indians joined the gig economy in the last half of 2018-19, registering a 30% growth compared to the first half of the fiscal year.
  • Better Place, a digital platform that does background verification and skill development in the informal sector, estimates that of the 21 lakh jobs that will be created in the metros in 2019-20, 14 lakhs will be in the gig economy.
  • Food and e-commerce delivery will account for 8 lakh positions and drivers will account for nearly 6 lakh positions, says the report, based on 11 lakh profiles in over 1,000 companies.
  • Delhi, Bengaluru and other metros are expected to be the biggest drivers of this sector. And two-thirds of this workforce will be under the age of 40.

growing_gigs

Key Challenges:

  • This workforce has limited employment rights like minimum wages, health benefits, sick leaves or even retirement benefits to fall back on.
  • Also, the payment is assured only on the completion of the project giving a sense of financial insecurity.
  • The lack of any kind of protection was also deterring several talented workers against participating in the economy
  • The Central government recently passed the social security code which could cover gig worker as well.
  • One of the key proposals includes the creation of a social security fund which is around 1 per cent of the aggregators’ annual turnover.
  • This fund would be used primarily for the welfare of the unorganized and the gig workforce

Way Forward:

  • The government needs to come out with some more regulations to protect the workforce of the gig economy.
  • Also, at present, there is no mechanism to address the issue of redress of disputes.
  • It could also mean countries coming together to set up a platform to extend their labour protection to the workforce who are working part-time in their country.
  • Companies employing the workforce on a temporary basis should also be made responsible to contribute to their insurance and social obligation other than just their tax commitment.

Conclusion:

The scope of the gig economy in a country like India is enormous. The government needs to come out with a comprehensive legislation to empower and motivate many to take this path. The gig economy and its workforce cannot be overlooked when we talk about the future of employment.

 

6. “Good people don’t need law but bad people will always find their ways around law.” (Plato). Elucidate. (250 words)

Reference: Ethics, Integrity and aptitude by Lexicon publications.

Introduction:

There are two sources of guidance by which human beings can judge the morality of their actions. One is outside that is law and other is inherent within the actor that is conscience.

Body:

  • If a person is thought to be responsible in his actions, he understands what his actions hold for him as well as for the society.
  • Sometimes, it is perceived that if a person is not indulging in an anti-people activity, he does not have guts to do so.
  • A person who bears subtle form of social controls in his life, and doesn’t indulge in actions which need to be controlled by laws, has in fact imbibed those ideals in his personality.
  • While the bad elements, people who are not concerned about the larger good when they indulge in any activity, lack the “good” trait in their personality and fundamentals.
  • Even if the society tries to contain them into laws and impositions, they will find a way out because their tendencies are framed in that manner.

Law as moral obligation:

  • St Thomas Aquinas defined law – “an ordinance of reason for the common good” – imposes moral obligation to act or restrains to not act
  • Law sets up a course of action
  • Aquinas emphasized upon good, possible and just laws therefore.
  • He recognized two kinds of laws – Natural and Positive laws
  • Natural law developed with time and is based on human nature. Human reason can discover it. It is also universal and immutable.
  • Positive law is a set of laws and depends on legislators’ free will. Promulgated by some external sign
  • Since natural law is general and vague, positive law is necessitated to clear ambiguity and establish principles

Conscience:

  • Against law which is outside the actor, conscience is within that determines morality.
  • It is a special act of mind that comes into being when the intellect passes judgement on the morality of a particular action.
  • From deontological perspective, conscience is a judgement – an act of intellect.
  • It is not a feeling or an emotion.
  • It is very specific to the action, unlike the general nature of laws.
  • This belief is questionable.

Conclusion:

Being good or bad, is essentially defined by what a person holds as ideals and how responsibly he chooses his actions. Laws come into picture for social control. What must in fact come into picture is better training of an individual from childhood to be a member of a responsible society.

 

7. Recent studies have revealed that climate change leads to more violence against women. In this context, discuss the impact of climate change on women. (250 words)

Reference: un.org

Introduction:

Women commonly face higher risks and greater burdens from the impacts of climate change especially in situations of poverty. Extreme weather events such as droughts and floods have a greater impact on the poor and most vulnerable – 70% of the world’s poor are women.

Body:

Impact of climate change on women rights:

  • Women’s vulnerability to climate change stems from a number of factors – social, economic and cultural.
  • Seventy per cent of the 1.3 billion people living in conditions of poverty are women.
  • In urban areas, 40 per cent of the poorest households are headed by women.
  • Women predominate in the world’s food production (50-80 per cent), but they own less than 10 per cent of the land.
  • Women represent a high percentage of poor communities that are highly dependent on local natural resources for their livelihood, particularly in rural areas where they shoulder the major responsibility for household water supply and energy for cooking and heating, as well as for food security.
  • In the Near East, women contribute up to 50 per cent of the agricultural workforce.
  • They are mainly responsible for the more time-consuming and labor-intensive tasks that are carried out manually or with the use of simple tools.
  • In Latin America and the Caribbean, the rural population has been decreasing in recent decades.
  • Women are mainly engaged in subsistence farming, particularly horticulture, poultry and raising small livestock for home consumption.
  • Women have limited access to and control of environmental goods and services; they have negligible participation in decision-making, and are not involved in the distribution of environment management benefits. Consequently, women are less able to confront climate change.
  • During extreme weather such as droughts and floods, women tend to work more to secure household livelihoods.
  • This will leave less time for women to access training and education, develop skills or earn income.
  • In Africa, female illiteracy rates were over 55 per cent in 2000, compared to 41 per cent for men.
  • When coupled with inaccessibility to resources and decision-making processes, limited mobility places women where they are disproportionately affected by climate change.
  • In many societies, socio-cultural norms and childcare responsibilities prevent women from migrating or seeking refuge in other places or working when a disaster hits.
  • Such a situation is likely to put more burden on women, such as travelling longer to get drinking water and wood for fuel.
  • Women, in many developing countries suffer gender inequalities with respect to human rights, political and economic status, land ownership, housing conditions, exposure to violence, education and health.
  • Climate change will be an added stressor that will aggravate women’s vulnerability.
  • It is widely known that during conflict, women face heightened domestic violence, sexual intimidation, human trafficking and rape.
  • Way forward:
  • Gender-responsive approach: It is critical that all climate action takes a meaningful gender-responsive approach. This means moving beyond efforts to ensure that women and men are equally represented on discussion panels, or that projects and programmes benefit similar numbers of men and women.
  • Addressing underlying social issues: We must address underlying structural power relations and socio-economic marginalization that lead to women around the world being more significantly affected by climate change through awareness generation.
  • Recognition: Recognizing the important contributions of women as decision makers, stakeholders, educators, careers and experts across sectors and at all levels can lead to successful, long-term solutions to climate change.
    • In Africa, for example, old women represent wisdom pools with their inherited knowledge and expertise related to early warnings and mitigating the impacts of disasters.
  • Climate Change Gender Action Plans: Investing in participatory, multi-stakeholder and multi-sectoral Climate Change Gender Action Plans can help countries to develop comprehensive action that integrates gender concerns and builds on women’s unique knowledge and perspectives.
  • Decision making: It is important to ensure equal space and resources for women and men to participate in climate change decision making and action at all levels.

climate

Conclusion:

Women are still a largely untapped resource. Restricted land rights, lack of access to financial resources, training and technology, and limited access to political decision-making spheres often prevent them from playing a full role in tackling climate change. Despite women being disproportionately affected by climate change, they are crucial to climate change adaptation and mitigation and must be involved in decision making.


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