Women Resilience Adaptation and Strategies in Climate Change in Indonesia : by Ade Indriani Zuchri

Indonesia is a vulnarable country towards natural disaster, such as flood, droughts, storms, strong winds, landslides, volcanoes, land and forest fires. Indonesia has been through the worst natural disasters in the last few years. 70% of the natural disasters are flood and strong winds, and the rest are droughts, landslides, forest fires, heat waves and tide. In the period 2003-2005, there are 1,429 disasters in Indonesia, approximately 53.3% related to hydro-meteorological disasters. (Bappenas and Bakornas PB.2006). Rising sea levels also pose a risk, currently about 24 small Indonesa islands are already submerged (Department of Marine and Fisheries-2007).

There are still many people who live and work around or at the edge of the sea and coastal or river in some areas in Indonesia, most of the families living at the age of the sea have revenues between 1 to US $ per day, and will further aggravate their poverty, when suddenly seawater experienced the ups and potentially destroying their living space. Some cities in Indonesia are vulnerable to disasters such as floods, landslides, tidal, fires, drought and sedimentation, not only has an effect on the losses in various sectors, such as sectors of the economy, but the disaster has also caused damage in the field of infrastructure, housing and the paralysis of trade and economy, the rise in prices of some agricultural products, crops and cattle, as well as worsen the quality of life of people, especially people who are vulnerable to disasters.

Extreme climate change has a big impact on the deteriorating level of public health, the supply of clean drinking water, housing, drainage facilities and other infrastructure destroyed by the disaster. So the difficulty level of the society to adapt in climate change increasingly vulnerable, for some groups of people from the community who are able, certainly its not difficult to adapt in extreme climate changes at this time, they were able to move to another place, which free of flooding or landslides, or buy clean water, or increase the supply of food to be consumed during drought, but for the people of marginal or vulnerable to climate change, it would be very difficult for them to move or buy clean water or buy the food, because the level of economic and earnings are low. One of the vulnerable groups that are difficult to adapt to climate change are women’s groups, women, especially in developing countries, are more at risk to climate change. Extreme weather and other disasters, in 2004, when the Tsunami hit Aceh Province, it has killed more than 126,000 people, and more than 50 percent of the victims are women, it has been shown that women are groups of people who are particularly vulnerable to disasters than men , because more women stay at home and keep the property, as well as caring for children, and when a disaster suddenly occurs, many of them (women and children), did not have time to save themselves.

In reality, women’s position still relies on natural resources, in which, in fact, it has become more threatened due to climate change. However, social, economic, political, and cultural situation has limited the capacity and ability of women to overcome the impact of climate change. Women are still burdened by her responsibility to secure water, food, and fuel to fulfill their household and family needs, but they are lack information, resources, and aloof from decision making process. When there are drought, flood, or other impacts from extreme climate happened, women need to think hard to ensure their family’s life can be sustainable. Climate change that impacts to the increase of disease spreading also leverages health, especially, women reproduction more than to men.

Climate change impacts happen amid inequality and injustice social relation system. Women receive plated impacts from climate change. Also, within patriarchy social structure, women have been marginalized so that experience, knowledge, and perspective from women are not considered as the important influence in society.

On 5th intergovernmental panel climate change (IPCC) report, it is stated that the different impacts from climate change between women and men emerged from their different role in society. This role is escalated or limited by another dimension from inequality, risk perception, and response attitude towards hazardous aspects. Most of times, women require additional task as labor and nursemaid as the cause from extreme climate and climate change as well as response toward culture. The additional tasks happened to women due to the impacts of extreme weather and climate change, as well as other continued response. For instance, men need to migrate out of their village, while women experience psychological and emotional pressure, malnutrition, or disadvantageous mentally health due to migration and in some cases, escalating domestic violence incident or women would be imposed to migrate and responsible to seek for money by working as domestic, migrant worker, or they are trapped as a prostitute. This irony comes out as the impacts of climate change which in some people might think it only ecology or economic damage, but, actually, it turns out in spreading other valuable harms, even it has destroyed local wisdom values and humanity value itself.

On the other hand, women are agent in mitigation and adaption on climate change. Women need to developed initiatives to respond or prevent climate change situation by individual or group. All of efforts are done by women with their community in responding and preventing climate change situation, started from finding a new method by planning crops, plant pattern shifting, or managing woods by not harming its habitat. Women also have to survive due to limited resources for women.
However, women role to overcome climate change has not received any recognition and fully protection from government, therefore inclusive, sensitive, and gender responsive policy is needed as a response for climate change to ensure women rights are respected, fulfilled, and protected. (AIZ-Chairman of SHI)