Advocating for women-led climate justice

Fabeha Monir for Ipas

Climate change is one of the defining crises of our time, and people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights are affected by this crisis.

Women and girls are disproportionately impacted because they lack power. As climate disasters worsen globally, people’s homes, livelihoods, food and water sources and safety are threatened. And there is a direct link between these environmental pressures and gender-based violence and unwanted pregnancy. In turn, women and girls have an increased need for sexual and reproductive health care, but these services become harder to access during and after disasters.

Ultimately, the climate crisis is a reproductive justice crisis. Our research in settings around the world finds that climate change undermines people’s right to have a child, to not have a child, and to parent children in safe and healthy environments. Yet we know that the people most impacted have solutions—and we must listen. Then we must act. Ipas works to ensure sexual and reproductive health are integral to climate solutions at every level of society—and that the people most impacted are actively engaged in building climate resilience within their own communities. Here’s what we’re doing:

Centering women’s voices

Working with local partners to build climate resilience

Responding to climate disasters

Building the evidence

Advocating for reproductive health in all climate solutions

Centering women’s voices

Learn why we need women-led climate justice through real women’s stories

Working with local partners to build climate resilience

As the climate crisis accelerates, communities must prepare for and respond to increasing disasters as well as the longer-term impacts of a changing climate. Ipas works with local partners to create holistic plans for adaptation and resilience in the face of climate change—and we center women and girls to ensure solutions meet their needs.

In northern Kenya, women-led climate justice is taking shape

Ipas partnered with local group PACIDA to tackle the impacts of climate change on reproductive rights. The solutions—generated by the people most affected—are helping build resilient communities.

Advocating for women-led climate justice in Nepal

“In the midst of a climate disaster, women and girls need a way to safely access reproductive health care, including abortion and contraception. But in societies like Nepal, where gender inequality is deeply entrenched, access to those services can be challenging or even nonexistent.”
– Jagadishwor Ghimire, Ipas Nepal director

Entashata: A small organization leaving giant footprints in Kenyan communities

Where drought brought on by climate change has disrupted the pastoralist lifestyle, women must now walk long distances for food and water. But Ipas’s local partner is tackling the problem with solutions like a community water tap and a beekeeping project that generates alternative income.

Responding to climate disasters

Extreme weather events driven by climate change—such as cyclones, floods, droughts and heat waves—have already created millions of climate migrants. Sexual and reproductive health care needs are often “invisible” during and after a crisis, as response efforts focus on food, water, shelter and emergency medicine. Yet needs like contraception, abortion and pregnancy care are also critical and time sensitive. At Ipas, we work to ensure these services are available.

Facing climate change, Ipas Malawi ensures people get the reproductive health care they need

In flood-hit Pakistan, Ipas is ensuring reproductive health care

Building the evidence

Around the world in settings impacted by climate change, we’ve documented consistent harms to sexual and reproductive health, including an increase in sexual and gender-based violence, child marriage, unintended pregnancy, abortion with unsafe methods, and maternal and infant deaths. Our research is participatory and our approaches value the expertise and lived experience of those most impacted by the crisis—not only to understand the impacts, but also the solutions.

Learn more about our research findings

Ipas research in the news

In coastal Bangladesh, climate change devastates women’s reproductive health

Advocating for reproductive health in all climate solutions 

Ipas staff participate in international fora like the annual United Nations Climate Change Conference to highlight the importance of including sexual and reproductive health care in all climate solutions. We also work at the local and national levels to advocate for women-led climate solutions and to support our partners—like ministries of health and community-based groups—in developing climate adaptation and resilience plans that focus on gender equity and include reproductive health.

Ipas at COP28UAE

Khusbu Poudel of Ipas Nepal presents on a panel discussion at the 28th UN Climate Change Conference (COP28) on how climate resilience can’t be achieved without a focus on women’s and girls’ reproductive health.

To solve the climate crisis, focus on women

COP26: Gender and reproductive justice are essential to avoid a greater climate catastrophe

Opinion: Why we need to make reproductive justice part of the climate conversation and our climate action plan

Climate change will affect everything—including reproductive health

By Anu Kumar, Ipas president and CEO, and Tanvi Monga, Ipas senior technical manager for community engagement

Connecting the Dots:

Climate change adaptation, reproductive justice and resilient health care

The Ipas Impact Network recognizes the urgency of the climate crisis as a human, environmental, social, and political threat to sustainable development and the fulfillment of human rights. We strive to embody principles and practices that reflect our commitment to advancing justice in all its forms. This includes examining the carbon footprint of our operations and taking steps across our network to reduce carbon emissions considerably—to achieve Net Zero by 2050.