Women, Climate Change and Liberation in Africa

Citation:

Steady, Filomina Chioma. 2014. “Women, Climate Change and Liberation in Africa.” Race, Gender & Class 21 (1/2): 312–33.

Author: Filomina Chioma Steady

Abstract:

Women in Africa have been among the first to notice the impact of climate change and its effects on the agricultural cycle, human and animal life; food production and food security. As major custodians and consumers of natural resources, the lives of women in rural areas are profoundly affected by seasonal changes, making them among the most vulnerable to climate change. Their pivotal role in any measure aimed at mitigation and adaptation is indisputable. Despite Africa's minimal emission of green house gases, it is one of the most vulnerable continents to climate change and climate variability and is prone to ecosystem degradation and complex natural disasters. (United Nations Environment Programme, 2006). This article examines women and climate change in Africa as an aspect of Africa's environmental problems. It is argued that the ideologies that drive the exploitation of the earth's resources are linked to the legacy of colonialism and its aftermath of economic globalization. Both have important implications for continuing oppression of the environment and people, with important implications for race, gender and class. Particular attention is given to women in rural areas in Africa, who are the main custodians of environmental conservation and sustainability and who are highly threatened by environmental degradation and climate change. Yet, they are often marginalized from the decision-making processes related to solving problems of Climate Change. The paper combines theoretical insights with empirical data to argue for more attention to women's important ecological and economic roles and comments on the policy implications for Climate Change. It calls for liberation that would bring an end to economic and ecological oppression through climate justice and gender justice.

Keywords: Africa's Vulnerability, women, natural resources, colonial legacies, hazardous waste dumping, land grabs, biofuels, mining, deforestation, liberation, gender justice, climate justice

Topics: Class, Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Economies, Environment, Climate Change, Environmental Disasters, Gender, Women, Globalization, Justice, Land grabbing, Race Regions: Africa

Year: 2014

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