24 Oct 2013

Marshallese women bore brunt of drought

7:13 am on 24 October 2013

A young woman's representative from the Marshall Islands says women bore the brunt of the social impacts of the severe drought there earlier this year.

And Yoshiko Yamaguchi told delegates at the 12th Triennial Conference of Pacific Women it's an example of how climate change is an emerging women's issue.

She says the drought threatened Marshallese women's livelihoods and they suffered more abuse and relationship problems.

She says they couldn't make handicrafts because the raw material had died, and they were stressed worrying about their family's health and not being able to do normal household chores.

"It caused identity issues, in my neighbourhood I saw there was a lot more cases of substance abuse and violence because women and men in the RMI [Republic of the Marshall Islands] believe that if women are not able to do these chores in the household then the men have the right to discipline them."

Yoshiko Yamaguchi says there needs to be a stronger link between the women's movement and climate change issues, and sharing personal stories is the way to bring things home.