The effects of climate change on Ugandan women

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Since the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), many conversations on the intersections between gender and global warming have been undertaken. International organizations and scientific bodies now consider global warming as one of the most serious threats to the world’s health and development . Indeed, climate change possess some major threats to food security, food production as well as the nation’s livelihoods and overall population health .

In Uganda, girls and women face the realities and implications of climate change on agricultural practices more severely than men. Women account for 56% of farmers in the country . They are also responsible for 70-80% of agricultural production, nutrition and food security, at household level . However, regardless of their hard work on the field, Ugandan women only own 16% of arable land in Uganda .

According to the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), Uganda’s highest money-yielding crops are owned by men even if women are the ones planting them; whereas, crops grown for home consumption are associated with women . Gender inequality in agricultural practices demonstrates how men have an advantage over women when it comes to the implications of climate change. Women, especially from rural areas, are highly dependent on land and traditional old age agricultural practices. They are also the ones mostly active in the sector, yet they are less likely to own land. However, making land available to women could mean giving them the opportunity to activities that would enable them to sustain themselves and their households. The implication of climate change hinders women’s daily activities such as cultivating the fields or collecting firewood and water .

In order to be part of the ongoing conversation on the impact of climate change on women, the Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET) continue to build capacity of women to be able to mitigate effects of climate change using ICT tools such as mobile phones and community radios and knowledge centers. By doing so, WOUGNET provides its contribution to the widespread challenges women face because of climate change and or other constraints related to environmental issues.

Conclusively, the degree to which people are affected by climate change varies depending on a person’s socio-economic status, power, access to and control over resources, and undeniably someone’s gender . However, although women are disproportionately affected by such environmental changes, both men and women simultaneously play key roles in alleviating the effects of climate change .

Article by,

Larissa Ituze,
WOUGNET, McGill University