Climate Change in Peru
Harvests in Laramate, Peru have suffered from drought and severe rainfall, creating food insecurity and poor nutrition throughout the area. In response, local female farmers turned to techniques of their indigenous ancestors. Utilizing these techniques has yielded widespread benefits and helped combat the effects of climate change in Peru.

Mirroring ancestral techniques, farmers select healthy seeds and rotate the crops to maintain soil fertility and proper irrigation. In this practice, the women of Laramate have eliminated the use of agrochemicals. Instead, farming practices respect for the land and use only natural resources. As a result, harvests not only yield more crops but also produce more diverse, nutritious and climate-resilient crops.

Women often play significant roles in preserving local, ecological and cultural knowledge across generations. However, indigenous women are also often the most neglected in political processes. According to a report by the U.N. Forum on Indigenous People, indigenous women are particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, including food insecurity. Empowering indigenous women can help them achieve financial prosperity and boost self-esteem while also unveiling valuable resources from a largely underrepresented demographic. As seen in Peru, empowering indigenous women has widespread positive impacts.

While working to offset the consequences of climate change in Peru, the women of Laramate are also working to empower indigenous women across the country. The Organization of Indigenous Women of Laramate and the Centro de Culturas Indigenas del Peru, a grantee of the U.N. Women’s Fund for Gender Equality, provide training and assistance programs to indigenous women in Laramate to help improve their economic opportunities. Between 2014 and 2015, these programs helped over 400 women in Peru by increasing women’s participation in public spaces and their ability to influence policy.

Comprising a mere 20-25% of the renewable energy workforce and approximately 12% of environmental ministers, women are largely underrepresented in environmental sectors. However, there is increasing recognition that climate change disproportionately harms women and international efforts to improve gender equality when addressing climate change.

In 2016, the Annual Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Convention on Climate Change committed to gender equality in climate change solutions efforts. Additionally, UN Women launched programs that bring women’s participation and leadership to the forefront of climate solutions.

Efforts to include women in climate solutions have widespread benefits. Women’s participation in politics often elicits greater responsiveness to citizens’ needs and increases cooperation across party and ethnic lines. Conversely, when women are not represented, policies can increase inequality and be less effective.

Recent international and local efforts are promising for the inclusion of indigenous women in climate solutions. On the local level, female indigenous farmers are directly combatting climate change in Peru while promoting efforts to include women in political spheres. By empowering indigenous women, communities in Laramate are creating a model of equal representation and sustainability for the world to follow.

McKenna Lux

Photo: Flickr