A new study has revealed that manifestations of climate change like erratic weather pattern, rainfall deficiency and high-intensity floods are seriously affecting the socio-economic development of marginalized and rural women in the state.
The study, "Impact of Climate Change on Marginalized Women", conducted by Guwahati-based Centre for Environment, Social and Policy Research (CESPR), Rashtriya Gramin Vikas Nidhi (RGVN) and Indian Network on Ethnic and Climate Change (INECC) said more and more women, who were already margnisalized, are bearing the brunt of climate change in the form of decline in livelihood and social security. The report of the study was released at the 18th UN Conference of Parties (COP) on Climate Change in Doha on Friday.
Quoting Regional Meteorological Centre (RMC) here, the study pointed out that between 2001 and 2011, rainfall deficiency in the Assam-Meghalaya meteorological subdivision ranged between 21 per cent (2002 and 2010) and 37 per cent (2006). The study said rainfall data in Assam since 1950 till 2010 shows that there has been a steady decline in the annual rainfall in the state, while monsoon rainfall deficient years in the northeast has been growing since 2001 and the Assam-Meghalaya meteorological subdivision of the region have already recorded six monsoon rainfall deficient years since then.
In this given scenario, the study carried out among 1000 respondents in six districts of the state said in several areas, the income of families who are solely dependent on agriculture for their livelihood, has declined and there was a rise in the frequency of drought-like situation in the state.
"As a result of the decline in the income, the women folk, who were basically homemakers, now have started to work to supplement the families' income and in many places they have even started working as daily wagers. In hundreds of households, women are now compelled to take up weaving, daily wage labour and other related activities to make ends meet, and in many areas, women of the households are taking up fishing to make up for lost agricultural produce," said CESPR convener Sabita Devi.
Devi said the impact of climate change has also started affecting education of the girl child in rural areas as once the mother decides to go out in search of work, the responsibility of the house usually rests on the girl child and she is asked to leave school.
"The findings also point out that in some areas, the adverse effects of climate change have also pushed many prosperous families to take up work as domestic helps and daily wage labourers," she added.