Women need empowerment in climate change adaptation and mitigation for the world to overcome the battle against climate change, says the International Gender Climate Change Women for Climate Justice (IGCC-WCJ).
The organisationâ€™s head, Gotelind Alber, said solutions to the climate change challenge do not necessarily lie in introduction of new technologies or infrastructure but the people, especially women, as they have a choice over adopting environmental-friendly lifestyles.
Addressing a group of African women on a tour of Female Empowerment in Africa by the Goethe Institut, Alber said women are more vulnerable to the impact of climate change and in any society; there is a likelihood that the impact of climate change will increase the differences between men and women in a world that is striving for equality.
â€œIt is important to bring out the gender dimension to climate change because as more girls in developing countries travel longer distances to fetch firewood or collect water, the more they stay out of school, thereby increasing their vulnerability and worsening poverty,â€ said Alber.
She said developed countries, such as Germany, are still struggling to empower women in climate change mitigation strategies because in most cases, men make decisions on energy issues.
Germany has a liberalised energy market and consumers can choose whether to use more environmentally-friendly energy sources or not. IGCC believes empowered women would make better choices regarding environment friendly energy use in their households.
According to Alber, IGCC believes that in order to achieve womenâ€™s rights, gender and climate justice, changes are necessary to overcome existing systems of power, politics and economics.
She said climate change mitigation is not only a problem of rural households where most people rely on fuel wood, but also in cities where slums and semi-urban locations have greater challenges in accessing energy sources.
IGCC-WCJ is a global network of organisations, experts and activists working for gender equality, womenâ€™s rights and climate justice. The network includes women and gender experts who are raising awareness and building capacity on gender and climate to improve climate policies. It also empowers women and men to actively contribute to mitigation and adaptation, with a particular focus on energy and climate.
Female Empowerment in Africa is a visitors programme of the Federal Republic of Germany which has brought together participants from 11 countries including Malawi, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Angola, Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, Namibia, Nigeria and South Sudan.