Keywords: climate change, energy, women and gender, sustainable development
Climate change, energy-related activities and the likely social impacts on women in Africa
This paper attempts to draw the links between climate change, energy-use, gender relations and the subsequent impacts on the every-day lives of poor women in Africa. The approach is one of broad-brush strokes in an attempt to provide an overview of the breadth and complexity of factors to consider in such an analysis. It is anticipated that climate change will result in aridification, decreased runoff, increased air temperatures and increased extreme weather conditions such as floods, droughts and high winds. Water resources, agriculture, human health, forestry, rangelands, biodiversity, fishing, forestry and tourism are all sectors that women are engaged in and that will be affected. Gender, the socially constructed relationships between men and women, plays a part in vulnerability. The paper highlights the difference in energy use in developed and developing countries and between men and women and goes on to explore the impact of energy use on climate change. The most vulnerable energy sub-sector is biomass fuels, which are used by the largest and most vulnerable category of consumers - poor women. The paper examines women's susceptibility to changes in the sectors mentioned and concludes with some recommendations on preparations which should be made towards sustainability.