By Treezer Michelle Atieno
Climate change is a global issue that affects every aspect of society, including the economy, health, and the environment. In Kenya, women play a crucial role in climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts.
However, their participation and involvement in decision-making processes related to climate change are still limited.
Women’s Role in Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation
Women in Kenya are disproportionately affected by climate change due to their roles as primary caregivers, food producers, and water managers. As climate change leads to increased droughts, floods, and unpredictable weather patterns, women face challenges in accessing clean water, nutritious food, and adequate healthcare for their families. Despite these challenges, women have shown resilience and resourcefulness in adapting to climate change impacts.
Women farmers in Kenya have been at the forefront of adopting sustainable agricultural practices that promote climate resilience. They have embraced techniques such as agroforestry, conservation agriculture, and crop diversification to mitigate the effects of climate change on their farms. These practices not only enhance food security but also contribute to carbon sequestration and biodiversity conservation.
In addition to adaptation efforts, women in Kenya are actively involved in climate change mitigation initiatives. They play a significant role in sustainable energy solutions by promoting clean cooking technologies such as improved cookstoves and biogas digesters. These technologies reduce indoor air pollution, deforestation, and greenhouse gas emissions.
Furthermore, women-led community-based organizations are driving reforestation efforts across Kenya. They engage local communities in tree planting activities to restore degraded landscapes and enhance ecosystem services. By actively participating in these initiatives, women contribute to carbon sequestration, soil conservation, and water management.
Barriers to Women’s Participation in Climate Change
Despite their significant contributions, women in Kenya face numerous barriers that hinder their full participation in climate change initiatives. These barriers include limited access to resources, lack of representation in decision-making processes, cultural norms and gender inequalities, and limited access to education and training opportunities.
Women often have limited access to land, credit, and technology, which restricts their ability to adopt climate-smart practices. Additionally, they are underrepresented in decision-making bodies at the local, national, and international levels, which limits their influence on climate change policies and programs.
Cultural norms and gender inequalities also play a role in limiting women’s participation. Traditional gender roles often confine women to domestic responsibilities, making it challenging for them to engage in community-level activities or pursue leadership positions. Furthermore, limited access to education and training opportunities hinders women’s capacity to actively participate in climate change initiatives.
The Need for More Involvement of Women
Increasing women’s involvement in climate change initiatives is crucial for several reasons. Firstly, women possess unique knowledge and perspectives that can contribute to more effective and inclusive climate change solutions. Their experiences as primary caregivers and food producers provide valuable insights into the impacts of climate change on vulnerable communities.
Moreover, empowering women in climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts can lead to improved livelihoods and poverty reduction. When women have access to resources, education, and decision-making power, they can better cope with climate change impacts and contribute to sustainable development.
Promoting gender equality in climate change initiatives aligns with international commitments such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement. Gender-responsive climate policies can enhance social equity, promote resilience, and ensure that no one is left behind in the fight against climate change.