Adaptation planning for climate change: is the health and safety of rural women a priority for local government? a policy analysis
More details
Hide details
La Trobe University, Australia
Publication date: 2023-04-26
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A182
Background and Objective:
Recent fires and floods in rural Australia attest to public health challenges of climate change leaving many already vulnerable rural communities in turmoil. Growing evidence that gendered health impacts and increased risk of violence against women are characteristic of the aftermath of disasters is a health equity and justice concern. The Victorian government in Australia mandates the development of climate change adaptation plans and health and wellbeing plans at local government level. Plans must consider health implications of climate change for each municipality in addition to proposing actions for preventing and responding to family violence, promoting gender equality and conducting gender impact assessments. The aim of this study was to explore how rural municipalities in Victoria recognise and prioritise women’s health and safety in relevant municipal plans.

Municipal documents and websites, (191), were accessed for all 48 rural Victorian municipalities. Those which explicitly mentioned climate change and gender or women were included for analysis. Twelve documents (6%) from 11 municipalities met the selection criteria. A content analysis identified any recognition of health impacts on women and proposed adaptation strategies.

Eight documents from seven municipalities, demonstrated minimal recognition of health impacts on women arising from climate change. This superficial recognition from a small proportion (15%) of rural municipalities lacked any explanation or actions to mitigate the impacts. Two documents mentioned vague adaptation strategies.

Women’s health and safety was poorly recognised in the context of climate change suggesting that it has not been a high priority. The lack of a sense of urgency and commitment to adaptation planning is problematic and requires urgent action so that vulnerability of rural women is not exacerbated by disaster. Further research is needed to explore attitudes and capacity for adaptation planning in rural municipalities.

Journals System - logo
Scroll to top