Arctic Yearbook 2014 - Page 191

191 Arctic Yearbook 2014 When indigenous peoples are located in isolated or inaccessible sites, often subject to challenging weather conditions, access to medical care and community services can be quite limited (Morgan 2008: 1, 4). The higher costs of transportation, health care, food, and other services impose greater burdens on women than on men. Depending on specific circumstances, women with lower incomes may have heavier responsibilities for home support, child care, and elder care during male absences for paid or unpaid work, and thus less time for paid work themselves. Or, in areas where school attendance requires children to remain behind during seasonal migrations, women may have sole responsibility for supporting through paid work the family home as well as being physically present with children during nonschool hours. Traditional foods can augment family resources, but indigenous peoples who can maintain access to wildlife for consumption are exposed to unacceptable levels of contaminants in many of their traditional foods. This poses longer term and intergenerational health risks (Huhnlein 1997), and there is some indication that pollution from resource development creates higher risks of serious health effects. Those health effects place women at higher risk both for themselves and for their children, and protective policies have not kept pace with these realities (Tenenbaum 2009: 117). Arctic Economic Development and Fiscal Management The potential effects of climate change and accelerated development of Arctic regions and resources have global as well as domestic significance. For domestic populations, the contradictions between the vast profits to be made from Arctic economic development and the relative under-funding of human development and wellbeing in some of these regions are already becoming all too clear. For the global community, the prospects of private corporate economic exploitation of Arctic resources for profit without responsibility for the human, ecological, and climate effects of such development pose serious questions about how effectively the principles of state sovereignty and neoliberal economic governance can be in meeting those challenges. While each country has a unique resource development footprint and attendant regulatory regimes, the impact of inadequate regulation of Arctic development is relevant to all populations. Women and indigenous peoples are already experiencing the uneven effects of Arctic change in several circumpolar countries. The ‘paradox of plenty’ increasingly concentrates the financial benefits of Arctic change in the hands of owners of corporate capital, while the human costs are borne more heavily by those at the bottom economically and politically, and environmental damage is left to be borne by ‘nature.’ Partial solutions are already available, and more comprehensive solutions can be identified at this stage. The ‘Paradox of Plenty’ and Fiscal Governance The ‘paradox of plenty’ arises when productive economic activities become centred heavily around resource extraction and thus ‘crowd out’ other forms of economic activity. The larger the resource extraction sector, the more pronounced the ‘crowding out’ effect as large-scale resource extraction activities shift the focus of government and industry planning and development away from other sectors like agriculture, manufacturing, and trade. Consequent changes in employment and skill Gender Challenges & Human Capital in the Arctic