Home AMwA at Africa Climate Week: INTEGRATING GENDER JUSTICE IN CLIMATE ACTION: CHALLENGES, LESSONS AND WAY FORWARD

AMwA at Africa Climate Week: INTEGRATING GENDER JUSTICE IN CLIMATE ACTION: CHALLENGES, LESSONS AND WAY FORWARD

Introduction

Akina Mama wa Afrika (AMwA) will be hosting a session at the Africa Climate Week, 2021 under the theme “Integrating gender justice in climate action: challenges, lessons and way forward.”. The session will take place on Sunday, 26th September 2021 at 15:00 EAT.

This session is organized under the auspices of the Voices for Just Climate Action (VCA) programme, which is a global programme being implemented by a consortium led by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Netherlands, and other partners including Akina Mama wa Afrika (AMwA), Fundación Avina, Hivos, Slum Dwellers International (SDI), and South South North (SSN) under the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ five-year strategic partnership: “Power of Voices”.

The overall approach of the programme is to work with civil society to build wide societal support for locally shaped climate solutions through an inclusive and rights-based approach. This includes building a broad-based climate alliance at country level, bridging divides (urban-rural, gender, youth) that amplify voices in new unusual ways. Within Africa, although the programme’s vision covers the whole continent, the programme’s direct implementation focuses on Kenya, Tunisia, and Zambia.

Akina Mama wa Afrika (AMwA) brings to the consortium a recognized track record of feminist leadership development, feminist research and advocacy and movement building to advance women’s rights and gender equality for a just climate transition.

Background

Without a doubt, climate change is the other crisis of our generation.[1] It is now also widely understood that while climate change affects us all, it manifests and affects us differently.[2] This reality is as a result of a combination of many factors, including systemic inequalities that are compounded by individual and societal differences based on gender, social and economic status, ethnicity, ability, sexual orientation, among others. Therefore, it is important that the solutions to the climate crisis are able to acknowledge these different realities and guarantee that all actions undertaken encompass solutions that address the root causes and effects of climate change not as a single issue, but in recognition of the full spectrum of the numerous challenges that communities face.

In acknowledging this, we recognize that African women and indigenous people continue to bear the biggest brunt of the climate crisis as they are disproportionately affected, although little is said about why that is. Yet, the continued absence of their voices and lived experiences in policy and otherwise discussions about climate action further reinforces existing barriers to guaranteeing that climate change solutions are contextual and applicable to their needs.

Upon this background, Akina Mama wa Afrika under the auspices of the Voices for Just Climate Action (VCA) Programme will host a session at the Africa Climate Week “Integrating gender justice in climate action: challenges, lessons and way forward”. The session will take place on 26th September 2021 at 3:00PM EAT.

During this session, we will discuss what a gender justice approach in climate action really means. We will do this by analysing the lived and current experiences of African women and other minoritized groups using an intersectional analysis[3]. Using a feminist analysis, the session will also reflect on the role of historical and current global economic governance systems and power structures – particularly the unequal power dynamics between people from the Global North and South, legislation, and complex cultural and social dynamics that influence gender norms, among others, which have contributed greatly to the climate crisis.  By locating the climate crisis within this continuum of various systems of oppression, then climate actors will better centre the needs of the most marginalized in the designing climate solutions that address the full spectrum of the problem. To do this, we would attempt to address the questions below:

  • How do the responses to climate change manifest in the different socio-economic and political regions in Africa?
  • Are the proposed strategies particularly on climate finance gender-differentiated in their perception and adoption?
  • What are the visible and invisible barriers that keep the voices, lived experiences, knowledge of women and other minoritized people out of discourse on and design of climate action?
  • Are there other cultural, social, and economic factors interacting within the different contexts with gender, that contribute to shaping the realities of those we are working with? What are the big and small ways we can address these?

About Akina Mama wa Afrika

Akina Mama wa Afrika (AMwA) is a feminist Pan- African leadership development organization founded in 1985 by African women immigrants living in the United Kingdom. AMwA seeks to create space for African women to organize autonomously, network with each other, share skills and expertise, identify issues of concern, and speak for themselves. The thematic focus areas include: Women’s Political Leadership; Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR); and Economic Justice and Climate Action.

Our intersectional approach to women’s programming is critical to creating transformational change, as the systems of oppression are interlinked and therefore the struggle should also consist of multiple-issues and must be multi-pronged for the overall liberation struggle.

[1] The Climate Crisis – A Race We Can Win, UN, https://www.un.org/en/un75/climate-crisis-race-we-can-win.

[2] Women…In The Shadow of Climate Change, UN, https://www.un.org/en/chronicle/article/womenin-shadow-climate-change.

[3] Crenshaw K. Mapping the margins: Intersectionality, identity politics, and violence against women of color. Stanford Law Review. 1991; 43:1241–1299

Photo credit: downtoearth.org