IWD Gender and climate change: 8 March

IWD Gender and climate change: 8 March

Date: March 7, 2022
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Date: 8 March, International Women’s Day

Time: 15.00 – 17.00

Venue: Observatory Golf Course, Steyn Avenue, Johannesburg

To join virtually: Sign up or login to the Southern Africa Gender Community (SGC) on www.glcop.org.za, click on cyber dialogue and join International Women’s Day Webinar OR: Direct zoom link: https://genderlinks-org-za.zoom.us/j/81711675639

Women’s Rights Organisations across Southern Africa will mark international Women’s Day with a dialogue on this year’s theme – “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow.”

Climate disaster exacerbates inequality, and in many contexts, further drives the exclusion of women, LGBTQI+ and non-binary people, young people, people with disabilities, and other historically excluded groups, from decision-making, from household to national levels. These multiple and intersecting inequalities drive vulnerabilities and affect the ability of these groups to adapt to a changing climate.

As one of the biggest existential crises of our time, tackling the climate crisis requires concerted action from all sectors of society – from each individual and community playing their part, to national legislatures and policy makers who should implement policy, to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Gender equality integral to shaping sustainable solutions to the climate crisis.

The two-hour dialogue is a partnership between Gender Links, Women’s Voice and Leadership South Africa (WVL- SA), African Women in Energy and Power (AWEaP) and the SADC Gender Protocol Alliance will be hosting a dialogue on gender equality for sustainable development and climate justice. Panelists will draw the connections between climate and gender justice and showcase climate justice initiatives from across the region.

Both climate-related disasters and the longer-term climate change, impact the sectors humans require for survival, including food, water and other natural resources. Flood and drought cause water and food insecurity and African women play a central role in the continent’s agriculture sector representing 52% of the total population in the sector and are responsible for approximately 50% of the agricultural labour on farms in Sub-Saharan Africa. Women in rural areas, are most vulnerable, as the majority of the poor and those largely responsible for agricultural food production and household labour, including sourcing water and cooking fuels, caring for children, the sick and the elderly.

Water scarcity and climate related disasters has adverse effects on women’s sexual reproductive health and rights (SRHR), including for menstrual hygiene, pregnancy and birthing. Damage to infrastructure means that women often have reduced access to SRH services and facilities. Women and girls are also at increased risk of GBV and workload as they travel longer distances to collect water for cooking and sanitation, as well as increases in child marriage and teenage pregnancy as women and families struggle to make ends meet.

The climate crisis poses many challenges to women’s lives and livelihoods but also presents opportunities for women to be actively involved in fostering innovative sustainable solutions to the crisis. It is essential that we unlock the full potential of African women farmers and entrepreneurs, formal and informal, by providing access to markets, finance and technology to ensure meaningful economic participation, and opportunities for renewable energies and transitioning to agroecology that promotes fair and sustainable systems that respect people’s food sovereignty through eco system-based approaches.

Women’s rights movements and activists are essential agents of change, in shaping and advancing solutions to the climate crisis, which centre gender equality and human rights for all.

The dialogue aims to build knowledge and capacity on climate-related issues and how they impact and intersect with other gender issues including access to water sanitation and electricity, economic justice, SRHR and GBV. Through sharing and learning from climate justice initiatives taking place across the SADC region we want to inspire participants to become active climate gender justice advocates.

For more information, please contact Nomthandazo Mankazana, WVL Grants Coordinator Tel: 082 560 0066, grants1@genderlinks.org.za or Susan Tolmay, Gender and Governance Associate, Tel: 083 519 8959, governance@genderlinks.org.za

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