By Joyce Mukucha
As climate change adverse effects persist around the globe, most women and young girls residing in urban-distant communities are becoming more affected as they bear the brunt of the negative impacts.
Due to negative impacts posed by climate change, marginalised women and girls encounter violence, financial instability and child marriage among other consequences.
In an interview with Spiked Online Media, a 25 year old Shamiso who resides in Zaka in the Climatic Region Five of Zimbabwe said the Government should engage women and girls in livelihood strategies that can enable them to cope with the impacts of climate change. She indicated that because of their gender, women face discrimination in communities which are compounded and multiplied when disasters strike.
“Whenever cases of natural disasters occur, it’s usually women and girls that struggle to survive the aftermath. As rural women, we face inequalities and discrimination because of traditional assigned roles as caretakers.
According to a ActionAid report, marginalised women and girls, the disabled and the elderly are more vulnerable to death and injury in the face of natural disasters as they stay back in a disaster to protect their children whilst men escape.
Another survey indicated that in many rural communities of Mashonaland West, men control the income in their households thereby leaving women who rely on men for economic support struggling in times of crisis. Others rely on land as farming is the only way that brings food on the table for the survival of the family. Unfortunately, due to climate change, most lands are slowly drying out and seasonal crops are affected.
In Latin American, 58 million women live in rural areas. However, only 30% of rural women own agricultural land and less than 5% have access to technical assistance. Improved, gender-focused public policies for climate change adaptation will without a doubt help to reduce the gaps that intensify the vulnerability of rural women.