WASHINGTON (CBS DC) — Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., proposed a resolution Wednesday that warns climate change and ensuing natural disasters will force millions of vulnerable and poverty-stricken women to engage in “transactional sex” in order to provide their families with adequate food and water.
Lee’s House Concurrent Resolution 29 says that food and water scarcity will be exacerbated by the effects of climate change, forcing increased “conflict and instability” that will particularly affect the strain on women farmers “who are estimated to produce 60 to 80 percent of the food in most developing countries.”
“[F]ood insecure women with limited socioeconomic resources may be vulnerable to situations such as sex work, transactional sex, and early marriage that put them at risk for HIV, STIs, unplanned pregnancy, and poor reproductive health,” reads the resolution.
The resolution calls attention to ways that women are vulnerable to climate change, specifically in poor and developing countries. It states that it will become more difficult for women to grow and collect food and water for their families and natural disasters driven by climate change will push many women and children into becoming refugees.
Lee’s resolution concluded by urging Congress to acknowledge the “disparate impacts of climate change on women,” and should use “gender-sensitive frameworks in developing policies to address climate change.”
The resolution notes several United Nations statistics, including data showing that “the number of people living in extreme poverty could increase by up to 3,000,000,000 by 2050 unless environmental disasters are averted by coordinated global action.”
Lee proposed a similar piece of legislation in 2013 with 11 co-sponsors, although House Concurrent Resolution 36 was ultimately quashed.
“Food-insecure women with limited socioeconomic resources may be vulnerable to situations such as sex work, transactional sex, and early marriage that put them at risk for HIV, STIs [sexually transmitted infections], unplanned pregnancy, and poor reproductive health,” according to the 2013 resolution.