A woman carries her salvaged belongings as navigates the floods to safety after her house was submerged following heavy rainfall overnight causing River Nzoia to spill over, in Budalangi, Western Kenya. (John Ojanji)
Climate and Gender vulnerability are inextricably linked: Climate Change exacerbates Gender Inequalities and Gender Inequalities aggravate Climate Change. This is true. As Climate Change shocks experienced due to rising sea levels, changing rainfall patterns resulting to increased droughts and floods; and increased severity of disasters extreme weather events leading to loss of lives, increased food insecurity; decreased ability to earn income and grow food; less access to clean water and more diseases and health problems with the overall negative impacts on economic and social development. These impacts are being experienced globally. The climate risk index 2021 released by environmental think tank Germanwatch on January 25, 2021 said that five countries in the African Continent were among the global top 10 to suffer extreme weather in 2019. India suffered the second highest monetary loss after Japan.
World Map of the Global Climate Risk Index 2000 – 2019
Source: Germanwatch and Munich Re NatCatSERVICE
Kenya ranks among the top 50 countries who suffer most from extreme weather events and weather-related loss events in 2019 and 2000-2019. Impacts of Climate Change multiply the risks for women and girls who are already vulnerable. The outbreak of the corona virus (covid -19) has further exposed women and girls to risk as evident in the alarming rise in sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). Recent reports shocked the country on the prevalence of teenage pregnancies. The Africa Institute of Development Policy (AFIDEP) data showed that Nairobi County is leading with 11,795 in teenage pregnancies in January to May 2020 with Kakamega and Machakos counties being part of the public outcry on this devastating issue.
Access to safe water is recognised as a basic human right and yet women and girls bear the hardship of providing water to their households. Women and girls around the world spend 40 billion hours a year fetching water walking several miles every day in search of clean water especially during the drought season when streams dry up.
With a population of 47,564,296 of which 24,014,76 accounting for 50.5% of the total population (2019 Population and Housing Census) women tend to be viewed as victims rather than key actors who have critical knowledge of their community, economy, and environment as well as practical skills. This is recognised would be effective in reduction, adaptation, and mitigation of climate change. Society cannot afford to limit the say of women in decision making and utilise their skills as it is a direct contribution to Climate Change adaptation and any contrary action to this would undermine overall sustainable development.
Women Pay a huge price for the impacts of climate change, and only by investing in a Gender Sensitive approach towards Climate Change adaptation can we reduce the Gender Inequality. Contact us, and let have this conversation.
LILIAN W. WANDAKA
PRINCIPAL ENVIRONMENT EXPERT
GREENKENYA INVESTMENT CORPORATION
The Greenhouse, Adams Arcade, Ngong Road,
4th Floor, Suite 23, East Wing,
P.O. Box 21133-00505,
Whatsapp Business: 0724 111 174
Nairobi | Kenya