Women are more vulnerable to the continuing climate change effects than men, Deputy Director in the Ministry of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development, Tariro Chipepera has revealed. Chipepera was presenting on Women and Climate Change in Urban Areas during the Stocktaking for National Adaptation Plan (NAP) workshop in Harare this week.
The Deputy Director said that patriarchal systems, cultural norms and tradition play a huge role in gender dynamics that shape the status of women in Zimbabwe.
“The effects of climate change are not gender neutral, women are more vulnerable to climate change effects due to their gender roles,” Chipepera said.
“There is need to create a society where both sexes have equal opportunities.”
Chipepera also revealed that poor sanitary services due to inadequate supply of water in urban areas is also affecting the women and girls’ Menstrual Hygiene Management issues.
“Challenges in water supply and sanitary infrastructure being experienced in urban areas has resulted in 54% to 78% of urban residents having challenges in accessing clean water and proper sanitary facilities. Due to gender specific division of labour, women and girls are affected worse as they are in charge of handling problems emanating from such challenges.” said the Deputy Director.
“In Zimbabwe 70% of small holder farmers are women. Urban Agriculture is being affected by climate change undermining development efforts due to food insecurity and this also widens the gap between the poor and the rich.”
“Zimbabwe’s crisis and vulnerability to climate change and implications of Climate Change have accelerated rural to urban migration, this has resulted in gender relations soaring and disintegration of families in some cases.” Chipepera went on.
The NAP process was established in 2010 as part of the Cancun Adaptation Framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to complement the existing short-term National Adaptation Programmes Action (NAPA).
Climate change, which is “the average change in weather patterns over a period of at least 30 years” according to the Meteorological department has been causing extreme weather conditions such as droughts and hail storm as temperatures continue to rise.