Africa must unlock the power of its women to save climate change

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As the African delegates prepare to implement the Paris Agreement on Climate change in Katowice in Poland this week, the leaders have been called to empower the women on climate change.

Research shows that when women are involved in decision making, agreements on the environment are more likely to be ratified and projects around natural resources, such as water, are more likely to succeed.

If given access to education and finance, African women can contribute to finding technological solutions and driving the continent’s renewable energy industry too.

Dana Elhassan, Senior Gender Expert at the African Development Bank, said in a press release by APO that: “When you empower women in the context of climate change you empower a family, a community and a country.”

There is also strong evidence that women play a vital role in dealing with disasters by mobilising communities, something that will become increasingly important as climate change advances.

“You cannot solve a problem with half the team. A lot of the unpaid work that women do, such as collecting firewood and water, and caring for the family, are massively affected by climate change – so we have to make sure adaptation initiatives address their needs, vulnerabilities and potential.”

Women as agents of change

Studies show that when women are part of decision making, ratification of multilateral agreements on the environment are more likely, adds Mafalda Duarte, head of the $8.3 billion Climate Investment Fund, one of the largest climate financing instruments in the world.

“Discourse is quite tilted to considering women as victims of climate change – but we are agents of change and if we are perceived as such this will make a big difference,” says Ms Duarte.

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