Agricultural workers in the developing world, many of them women, are vulnerable to climate change.
Shutterstock / Donya Nedomam
Women in the developing world, many of whom work in agriculture, are vulnerable to climate change.

Apparently the idea of girls being sold off into early marriage and women being pushed into prostitution is fucking hilarious.

Or so thinks the right-wing media machine, confronted this week with warnings about the negative ways climate change could affect women around the world.

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and 11 other House Democrats, both men and women, introduced a resolution that aims to raise awareness about the vulnerability of women and girls to global warming.

From the resolution [PDF], via The Hill:

Whereas climate change exacerbates issues of scarcity and lack of accessibility to primary natural resources, forest resources, and arable land for food production, thereby contributing to increased conflict and instability, as well as the workload and stresses on women farmers, who are estimated to produce 60 to 80 percent of the food in most developing countries; …

Whereas food insecure women with limited socioeconomic resources may be vulnerable to situations such as sex work, transactional sex, and early marriage that put them at risk for HIV, STIs, unplanned pregnancy, and poor reproductive health; …

The resolution lists many other threats and goes on to encourage the president to “integrate a gender approach in all policies and programs in the United States that are globally related to climate change” and to “ensure that those policies and programs support women globally to prepare for, build resilience for, and adapt to climate change.”

Heavy stuff, right? And it’s heavy stuff that’s not often talked about. The resolution got some people in politics and the media to consider these issues for the first time.

But conservative commentators decided against spending too much time thinking about it. They jumped right to snickering about the sex references. The Wall Street Journal wrote about the resolution in a mocking piece with the headline, “Baby, It’s Warm Outside,” and the subhed, “The climate is changing. Lock up your daughters.” The first paragraph:

Is “climate change” corrupting the morals of women around the world? That’s a question nobody is asking if ever there was one, yet a dozen left-wing congressmen, led by Rep. Barbara Lee of California, are answering in the affirmative.

The Daily Caller followed right up with “Democrats: Global warming means more hookers.”

Needless to say, Lee has been unimpressed by some of the coverage, particularly by the near singular focus on sex work. She told the Los Angeles Times that “it’s unfortunate that this resolution has been misrepresented as to its goals.”