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Elizabeth Zick



SPSSI UN Climate team hosts a side event on Gender-Based Violence and Climate Change at the 2024 NGO Committee for the Status of Women forum

Elizabeth Zick, SPSSI UN Representative,
Adjunct Associate Professor, Long Island University - Brooklyn

On March 19, 2024, the Climate Committee of SPSSI’s UN Representative team hosted a side event to the 2024 NGO Committee for the Status of Women forum, entitled Gender-Based Violence and Climate Change: Causes, Consequences, and Solutions. The event was held to highlight the disproportionate impact of climate change on women, and to advocate for a more nuanced understanding of the climate crisis through a gendered lens.  

SPSSI President, Patrick Gzanka, Ph.D., welcomed attendees and gave an overview of SPSSI’s mission. SPSSI UN NGO Representative Sheri Levy, Ph.D., introduced the session and spoke about how climate change is a crisis multiplier, compounding gender-based violence, poverty, and social injustices.

Rehana Shaikh, MSc, Gender and Development Advisor, Institute for Social Policy, Islamabad Pakistan, presented on the intersectionality of climate change and gender-based violence in the global south, with a specific focus on Pakistan. She emphasized the importance of including women in the local-level disaster management process, advocating for addressing gender based violence in national politics, and building community resilience and adaptive effective mitigation strategies, as she noted according to the Global Risk Index, Pakistan is ranked the 5th most vulnerable country to climate change.

Erinn C. Cameron, Ph.D., Clinical Ecopsychologist and HBNU Fogarty Global Health Fellow, presented on amplifying women’s voices in environmental justice and culturally informed climate adaptation strategies. Shenoted how climate change disproportionately impacts women and amplification of their voices is critical for developing effective climate adaptation and mitigation strategies.

Laura Lopez-Aybar, Ph.D., Research Professor at Universidad del Sagrado Corazón in Puerto Rico, spoke about how stigma shapes the relationship between climate change and gender-based violence, the dynamics that perpetuate stigma and reinforce systems of oppression, and the importance of centering marginalized perspectives, challenging stigma, and fostering solidarity in shaping policy.

Luisa Ramirez, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology at School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Universidad del Rosario in Columbia, and SPSSI UN NGO Expert Affiliate, spoke about understanding climate change and migration through a gendered lens, and how the combined effects of climate change and migration deepens the effect of structural and direct violence, advocating for the improvement of gender sensitivity in migration policies to improve women’s ability to migrate and adapt to climate change impacts.

Speakers were introduced by some members of the SPSSI’s UN NGO Climate Committee including myself, Meagan T. Ryan, Ph.D., and Anni Sternisko, Ph.D. Additionally, the Question and Answer portion was led by SPSSI UN Graduate Intern, Meroona Gopang, MA., and closing remarks were provided by David Livert, Ph.D., SPSSI UN Main Representative and President of the Psychology Coalition at the UN. 

A recording of the event can be found here:

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