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West Africa

Ecology Is a Sistah’s Issue Too: The Politics of Emergent Afrocentric Ecowomanism

Citation:

Riley, Shamara Shantu. 2003. “Ecology Is a Sistah’s Issue Too: The Politics of Emergent Afrocentric Ecowomanism.” In This Sacred Earth: Religion, Nature, Environment, edited by Roger S. Gottlieb, 368–81. Abingdon: Routledge. 

Author: Shamara Shantu Riley

Annotation:

Summary:
“The extinction of species on our ancestral continent, the “mortality of wealth,” and hazardous-waste contamination in our backyards ought to be reasons enough for Black womanists to consider the environment as a central issue of our political agendas. However, there are other reasons the environment should be central to our struggles for social justice. The global environmental crisis is related to the sociopolitical systems of fear and hatred of all that is natural, nonwhite, and female that has pervaded dominant Western thought for centuries. I contend that the social constructions of race, gender, class and nonhuman nature in mainstream Western thought are interconnected by an ideology of domination. Specific instances of the emergent Afrocentric ecowomanist activism in Africa and the United States, as well as West African spiritual principles that propose a method of overcoming dualism, will be discussed in this paper" (Shantu 2003, 369).

Topics: Class, Environment, Feminisms, Ecofeminism, Gender, Race Regions: Africa, West Africa, Americas, North America Countries: United States of America

Year: 2003

Climate Change and Feminist Environmentalism in the Niger Delta, Nigeria

Citation:

Amadi, Luke A., Mina M. Ogbanga, and James E. Agena. 2015. “Climate Change and Feminist Environmentalism in the Niger Delta, Nigeria.” African Journal of Political Science and International Relations 9 (9): 361–71.

Authors: Luke A. Amadi, Mina M. Ogbanga, James E. Agena

Abstract:

Feminist environmentalist debate explores possible linkages between women and environmental issues such as inequality. One of the most pressing global problem at the centre of this debate is climate change vulnerability. As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) creates global policy awareness on the realities of climate change vulnerability, women in the poor coastal regions of the periphery societies such as the Niger Delta, Nigeria, prone to environmental degradation seem to be missing out. This subject matter has been of immense policy concern. The increase in recent decades of environmental disasters, deleterious effects of oil resource exploitation by the Multinational Corporations (MNCs), pollution, gas flaring, acid rain, sea level rise, ozone layer depletion, global warming and related pressures, provide the need to explore feminist environmental challenges. As all such problems manifest with divergent climate related implications, the most fundamental challenge they pose to women seem less talked about. Niger Delta women who are largely bread winners in most rural households are at risk as their subsistence relies heavily on the natural environment such as farming, fishing, petty trading, gathering of periwinkles, oysters, crayfish etc. To explore this dynamic, the study deployed a desk review of relevant secondary data to examine possible linkages between feminist environmentalism and climate change mitigation. Findings suggest that climate change, mitigation has been minimal. The paper made some policy recommendations.

Keywords: environmental security, climate change, women, development, Niger Delta

Topics: Development, Environment, Climate Change, Environmental Disasters, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Livelihoods, Multi-National Corporations Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Nigeria

Year: 2015

Exploring Mobility and Migration in the Context of Rural—Urban Linkages: Why Gender and Generation Matter

Citation:

Tacoli, Cecilia, and Richard Mabala. 2010. “Exploring Mobility and Migration in the Context of Rural—Urban Linkages: Why Gender and Generation Matter.” Environment and Urbanization 22 (2): 389–95.

Authors: Cecilia Tacoli, Richard Mabala

Abstract:

This paper draws on case studies in Mali, Nigeria, Tanzania and Vietnam to explore the different ways in which migration intersects with the changing relations between rural and urban areas and activities, and in the process transforms livelihoods and the relations between young and older men and women. Livelihood strategies are becoming increasingly diverse, and during interviews people were asked to describe their first, second and third occupations, the time allocated to each and the income that each produced. In all study regions, the number of young people migrating is increasing. This is influenced not only by expanding employment opportunities in destination areas but also by power inequalities within households, which means limited opportunities at home. It is increasingly common for young women to migrate, in part because they have no land rights and few prospects at home, in part because of more employment opportunities elsewhere. Young women also tend to move further than young men and for longer, and also remit a higher proportion of their income. Older men expect young men to migrate but often criticize young women for doing so, although women’s migration is more accepted as their remittances contribute more to household income. However, if young women had better prospects at home, it would limit their need to move to what is often exploitative and insecure work.

Keywords: gender, generation, livelihoods, migration, rural-urban linkages

Topics: Age, Displacement & Migration, Migration, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Households, Livelihoods Regions: Africa, East Africa, West Africa, Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Mali, Nigeria, Tanzania, Vietnam

Year: 2010

Mobility, Education and Livelihood Trajectories for Young People in Rural Ghana: A Gender Perspective

Citation:

Porter, Gina, Kate Hampshire, Albert Abane, Augustine Tanle, Kobina Esia-Donkoh, Regina Obilie Amoako-Sakyi, Samuel Agblorti, and Samuel Asiedu Owusu. 2011. “Mobility, Education and Livelihood Trajectories for Young People in Rural Ghana: A Gender Perspective.” Children’s Geographies 9 (3–4): 395–410.

Authors: Gina Porter, Kate Hampshire, Albert Abane, Augustine Tanle, Kobina Esia-Donkoh, Regina Obilie Amoako-Sakyi, Samuel Agblorti, Samuel Asiedu Owusu

Abstract:

This paper examines the gendered implications of Africa's transport gap (the lack of cheap, regular and reliable transport) for young people in rural Ghana, with particular reference to the linkages between restricted mobility, household work demands, access to education and livelihood potential. Our aim is to show how mobility constraints, especially as these interact with household labour demands, restrict young people's access to education and livelihood opportunities. Firstly, the paper considers the implications of the direct constraints on young people's mobility potential as they travel to school. Then it examines young people's (mostly unpaid) labour contributions, which are commonly crucial to family household production and reproduction, including those associated with the transport gap. This has especially important implications for girls, on whom the principal onus lies to help adult women carry the heavy burden of water, firewood, and agricultural products required for household use. Such work can impact significantly on their educational attendance and performance in school and thus has potential knock-on impacts for livelihoods. Distance from school, when coupled with a heavy workload at home will affect attendance, punctuality and performance at school: it may ultimately represent the tipping point resulting in a decision to withdraw from formal education. Moreover, the heavy burden of work and restricted mobility contributes to young people's negative attitudes to agriculture and rural life and encourages urban migration. Drawing on research from rural case study sites in two regions of Ghana, we discuss ethnographic material from recent interviews with children and young people, their parents, teachers and other key informants, supported by information from an associated survey with children ca. 9–18 years.

Keywords: school distance, child labour, transport gap, load-carrying, educational access

Topics: Age, Youth, Education, Gender, Girls, Infrastructure, Transportation Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Ghana

Year: 2011

Land, Labour and Gendered Livelihoods in a 'Peasant' and a 'Settler' Economy

Citation:

Amanor-Wilks, Dede-Esi. 2009. “Land, Labour and Gendered Livelihoods in a 'Peasant' and a 'Settler' Economy. Feminist Africa 12: 31-50.

Author: Dede-Esi Amanor-Wilks

Annotation:

“Africa historically has been land-abundant and labour-scarce. The situation in Africa contrasts with that in Asia, which has historically been labour-abundant and land-scarce. And it means that until relatively recently, land scarcity was not a major problem for African producers. In spite of this, we can surmise that access to land for women, or more crucially control over land, has been an issue for as long as patriarchy has existed. This is because labour applied to land creates capital; therefore land is a crucial source of power, whereas patriarchy is essentially the monopolisation of power by men. Yet there exists a perception that women in West Africa have more secure land rights than do women in East and Southern Africa. This article seeks explanations for this perception, from a framework of the peasant-settler dichotomy in Africa. While there is a growing literature on women’s land rights in Africa that makes no distinction between the former “peasant” and “settler” colonies, in African historiography generally, a major distinction has been drawn between them. We thus have separate literatures on “peasant” and “settler” economies of Africa that rarely speak to each other, and comparative African studies rarely cross the peasant-settler divide (Amanor-Wilks, 2006 and forthcoming). The main difference between “peasant” (or “peasant export”) and “settler” colonies is that in the former, land remained in the hands of African producers, who dominated local and export agricultural production. In the settler colonies by contrast, prime lands were expropriated to European settlers, who competed directly with Africans in both food and export production. Alongside the question of differential gender access to land across the peasant-settler divide, this article considers two sets of questions on which there is division in the literature on land tenure and gender justice. Is customary law harmful to women’s land rights or should it be codified to protect women’s land rights? Is access to land for women “negotiated”, or are access and control products more of social conflict? The hypothesis of this article is that the assumption that access is negotiated works best in conditions of relative land abundance and that in conditions of scarcity, it is social conflict that produces change.” (Amanor-Wilks 2009, 31-2).

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Land Tenure, Rights, Land Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa, West Africa

Year: 2009

Women Building Resilient Cities in the Context of Climate Change: Lessons from Freetown, Sierra Leone

Citation:

Kellogg, Molly. 2020. Women Building Resilient Cities in the Context of Climate Change: Lessons from Freetown, Sierra Leone. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security.

Author: Molly Kellogg

Annotation:

United Nations Security Council Resolution 2242 recognized climate change as an important consideration for the peace and security of women and girls. Women – marginalized in economic, political, and social spheres in many contexts – have even fewer available resources to cope with climate-related disasters as they face unique and often disproportionate risks.

Yet despite the challenges posed by climate change and gender inequality, evidence shows that women are actively contributing to building resilient cities. In urban contexts, women are carving paths to inclusion across multiple levels of local governance and helping communities become safer and more prepared to cope with disasters.

Field work in Freetown, Sierra Leone, reveals that women engaged in local governance are leading the charge for resilience building. This report distinguishes two key modes of engagement: formal representation, and community-based organizations or civil society networks. Local government shapes how residents experience risk, through providing services such as water or waste management, or planning future land use. In informal settlements, where local government is less reliable, informal structures of organizing can help build resilience, as through designing community-based early warning systems or forming savings cooperatives that allow households to bounce back after a disaster. Interventions from NGOs can fill gaps in service delivery and help link community-based initiative to government planning.

While the gender narrative for climate-related risks in urban areas has focused on women’s vulnerabilities, this report illustrates that women are also making important contributions to building resilient cities. Its findings point to five key recommendations for policy-makers and development practitioners to empower the voices and actions of women in local governance:

  • Invest in community-based organizations in informal settlement communities.
  • Promote collaboration between formal and informal governance bodies.
  • Design projects that are climate-responsive and gender-responsive.
  • Amplify the voices – and actions – of women change agents.
  • Conduct gender-responsive data collection in informal settlements.

Topics: Civil Society, Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Women, Governance, Infrastructure, Political Participation Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Sierra Leone

Year: 2020

Women and Climate Change in the Sahel

Citation:

McOmber, Chesney. 2020. “Women and Climate Change in the Sahel.” West African Papers no. 27, OECD, Paris.

Author: Chesney McOmber

Abstract:

The purpose of this paper is to explore the gendered impacts of climate change in the Sahel. In particular, it explores the ways in which gender inequality is a critical factor in understanding vulnerability and resilience efforts concerning climate change. It shows that the current climate crisis is affecting livelihoods throughout the Sahel in pronounced ways. In a region highly dependent upon subsistence agriculture and pastoralist livelihoods, climate variability and environmental degradation have made such livelihoods difficult to sustain, the effects of which have broad ranging impacts on social and economic systems. Consequently, migration, livelihood adaptation, social unrest, and political instability emerge from the ecological challenges the Sahel is facing. Those with the resources to respond to and prepare for future climate events will be better equipped to navigate the climate crisis. Unfortunately, those resources are rarely equally distributed at the household, community, and state levels. In particular, gender inequalities within the Sahel pose a very real challenge for adaptation and resilience strategies as states and global institutions make interventions to support at risk populations. The paper then explores what development and state institutions are doing to resolve gender inequity through climate resilience policy, and where these efforts are falling short. The paper concludes with some strategies to improve opportunities for gender equity and climate resilience based on field research within the Sahel.

Keywords: gender, climate change, Sahel, West Africa

Topics: Agriculture, Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Gender Equity, Livelihoods Regions: Africa, West Africa

Year: 2020

‘Less Able’: How Gendered Subjectivities Warp Climate Change Adaptation in Ghana’s Central Region

Citation:

Garcia, Alicea, Petra Tschakert, and Nana Afia Karikari. 2020. “‘Less Able’: How Gendered Subjectivities Warp Climate Change Adaptation in Ghana’s Central Region.” Gender, Place & Culture 27 (11): 1602–27.

Authors: Alicea Garcia, Petra Tschakert, Nana Afia Karikari

Abstract:

Vulnerabilities to climate change and adaptive action vary based on social differences that are bound up in complex power dynamics in any given place, culture, or context. Scholarly interest has shifted from gendered dynamics of climate change adaptation to the socio-political drivers of gendered inequalities that produce discriminatory opportunities for adaptation. This study utilises an intersectional subjectivities lens to examine how entrenched power dynamics and social norms related to gender, as well as age and marital status, galvanise or inhibit capacities to adapt in farming communities of Ghana’s Central Region. Through the use of interviews, focus group discussions, and photovoice sessions, we highlight gendered and intersectional subjectivities, roles, and responsibilities that centre on perceived differences in men’s and women’s strength and power. We then link resulting normative performances of gender to specific barriers to adaptation, such as lack of resources and agency, and demonstrate a pronounced dichotomy as women experience the brunt of these barriers and a persistent power imbalance that positions them as ‘less able’ to adapt than men. Such nuanced assessments of intersectional subjectivities are instrumental in supporting marginalised groups when deliberating and renegotiating inequitable power relations in climate change adaptation. Through repeated efforts at power subversion, emboldened social actors and critical scholars attuned to navigating power differentials can strengthen adaptive capacities and facilitate trajectories toward transformation.

Keywords: agriculture, gendered inequalities, power, (re)negotiation, subjectivities, transformational adaptation

Topics: Age, Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Intersectionality Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Ghana

Year: 2020

Impact of a Rural Solar Electrification Project on the Level and Structure of Women's Empowerment

Citation:

Burney, Jennifer, Halimatou Alaofè, Rosamond Naylor, and Douglas Taren. 2017. “Impact of a Rural Solar Electrification Project on the Level and Structure of Women's Empowerment.” Environmental Research Letters 12 (9). doi:10.1088/1748-9326/aa7f38.

Authors: Jennifer Burney, Halimatou Alaofè, Rosamond Naylor, Douglas Taren

Abstract:

Although development organizations agree that reliable access to energy and energy services—one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals—is likely to have profound and perhaps disproportionate impacts on women, few studies have directly empirically estimated the impact of energy access on women's empowerment. This is a result of both a relative dearth of energy access evaluations in general and a lack of clarity on how to quantify gender impacts of development projects. Here we present an evaluation of the impacts of the Solar Market Garden—a distributed photovoltaic irrigation project—on the level and structure of women's empowerment in Benin, West Africa. We use a quasi-experimental design (matched-pair villages) to estimate changes in empowerment for project beneficiaries after one year of Solar Market Garden production relative to non-beneficiaries in both treatment and comparison villages (n = 771). To create an empowerment metric, we constructed a set of general questions based on existing theories of empowerment, and then used latent variable analysis to understand the underlying structure of empowerment locally. We repeated this analysis at follow-up to understand whether the structure of empowerment had changed over time, and then measured changes in both the levels and likelihood of empowerment over time. We show that the Solar Market Garden significantly positively impacted women's empowerment, particularly through the domain of economic independence. In addition to providing rigorous evidence for the impact of a rural renewable energy project on women's empowerment, our work lays out a methodology that can be used in the future to benchmark the gender impacts of energy projects.

Topics: Development, Economies, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Infrastructure, Energy Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Benin

Year: 2017

Engaging with Gender and Other Social Inequalities in Renewable Energy Projects

Citation:

Baruah, Bipasha, and Mini Govindan. 2015. “Engaging with Gender and Other Social Inequalities in Renewable Energy Projects.” In Sustainable Access to Energy in the Global South: Essential Technologies and Implementation Approaches, edited by Silvia Hostettler, Ashok Gadgil, and Eileen Hazboun, 189-92. Cham: Springer.

Authors: Bipasha Baruah, Mini Govindan

Abstract:

The scholarship and discourse on climate change has been dominated by natural scientists. Social scientists have only recently become involved in the debate, while natural scientists have been researching the topic for much longer. Consequently, the mainstream discourse on climate change continues to be about large-scale economic instruments and complex computer models. More recently, social scientists have pointed out the limitations of techno-centric approaches and put forward alternative frameworks such as sustainable development, climate justice, human rights, and environmental ethics for conceptualizing and operationalizing the sociocultural dimensions of climate change. They have also explored and documented some of the positive and negative consequences of adopting “green” technologies to respond to the climate crisis. However, issues related to gender equity have remained under-studied even in the work of social scientists. This chapter and the three chapters that follow (Chaps.  17– 19) are a modest contribution toward addressing this knowledge gap through empirical research conducted in Peru, South Sudan, and Nigeria to understand the gendered implications and outcomes of the development and expansion of renewable energy technologies. We hope that this research will highlight the need to engage more critically and proactively with gender and other social inequalities while designing and disseminating such technologies.

Keywords: social inequality, gender equity, green economy, climate justice, gender inequity

Topics: Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Infrastructure, Energy Regions: Africa, East Africa, West Africa, Americas, South America Countries: Nigeria, Peru, South Sudan

Year: 2015

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