8th March 2022
International Women’s Day (IWD) is a global holiday celebrated annually on March 8 to commemorate the cultural, political, and socioeconomic achievements of women. It is also a focal point in the women’s rights movement, bringing attention to issues such as gender equality, reproductive rights, and violence and abuse against women. The United Nations began celebrating the day in 1977.
The 2022 UN Theme for International Women’s Day is “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”, looking to highlight the contribution of women and girls around the globe, who participate in their communities promoting climate change adaptation, mitigation, and response, in order to build a more sustainable future for all.
Acknowledging the Sixty-Sixth Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW66) 2022 Themes:
- Priority theme: Achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls in the context of climate change, environmental and disaster risk reduction policies, and programmes.
- Review theme: Women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work.
All of these themes blend in well with GenderCC SA advocacy work on gender justice and climate justice. This critical era of huge environmental degradation through industrialization and anthropogenic behavior is driven by greed, power, and dominion that leads to erratic climatic changes whose impacts affect women and girls the most. Governments need to ensure that climate solutions are gender just and that climate action is gender-sensitive and coherent with human rights and sustainable development. We are still far from celebrating this day as an equal society and the world, living up to the United Nations 2022 theme, the system has to change the world over. Mainstreaming gender in all the critical areas of our lives is not negotiable, it’s imperative, we need gender-sensitive policies followed by appropriate implementation, monitoring, and evaluation if we talk of social protection systems, access to public services, and sustainable infrastructure, then we need “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”
Gender inequality and climate change are closely intertwined. Due to their different and unequal social roles and status, women, girls, the poor, and people of marginalized genders are disproportionately affected by climate change impacts, also differentiated by factors such as age, race, ability, and location. Women are also leading innovative solutions to climate change at all levels, especially in frontline communities. Yet as the Glasgow Women’s Leadership statement highlighted at COP26, there is still a lack of momentum for prioritizing their knowledge, tools, and leadership in climate policy and action. Women around the world generate riches but are living in poverty, therefore climate technologies must respond to women’s needs, capacities, and knowledge. In order to implement the transformative shift needed to appropriately respond to climate change, gender-just solutions must be strengthened and scaled up in every country.
Just Transitions are said to be the vehicle in reducing carbon emissions and a trajectory to reaching the target of below 1.5C. As we recognize that the effects of climate change disproportionately affect those in poverty, and can exacerbate economic, gender, and other social inequalities, including those resulting from discriminatory practices based upon race and ethnicity; the transition towards net-zero will affect, most acutely, those in workforces in sectors, cities, and regions relying on carbon-intensive industries and production. With that in mind, a truly just transition should be fully inclusive and benefit the most vulnerable through the more equitable distribution of resources, enhanced economic and political empowerment, improved health and wellbeing, resilience to shocks and disasters, and access to skills development and employment opportunities. This should also display a commitment to gender equality, racial equality, and social cohesion; protection of the rights of Indigenous Peoples; disability inclusion; intergenerational equity and young people; the promotion of women and girls; marginalized persons’ leadership and involvement in decision-making; and recognition of the value of their knowledge and leadership; and support for the collective climate action of diverse social groups. Social dialogue as well as rights at work are indispensable building blocks of sustainable development and must be at the center of policies for strong, sustainable, and inclusive growth and development.
A Just Transition should be about democracy and accountability; resources are currently exploited for the enrichment of a few at the expense of the poor and marginalized people.
The IPCC sixth assessment’s scientific evidence is unequivocal that climate change is a threat to human wellbeing and the health of the planet. Every small increase in warming will result in increased risks to nature and people. The science is clear, any further delay in concerted global action will miss a brief and rapidly closing window to secure a livable future. The report further states that barriers to adaptation in Africa are: – Economics, Social/cultural, Information, Knowledge Technology, Human capacity, Finance, Governance, and Institutional Policy.
We, therefore, advocate for the right policies with strong social protection, formalization of informal jobs and circular economy, and consideration of care work. A transition from an economic system built around extractives of resources & exploitation of people to one structured around restoration and regeneration of territories and people’s rights and dignity.
Women and girl’s equal rights to social protection remain unfulfilled, strengthening women’s leadership and full equal participation in decision making in all areas of sustainable development as per SDG 5 on gender equality, will help to ensure that public services and investments in sustainable infrastructure are essential for reducing and redistributing unpaid care and domestic work – a key driver of women’s income insecurity.
To attain complete women and girl’s rights and gender equality, we need enhanced national institutional arrangements, foster enabling environments for financing gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls through gender budgeting, have gender-responsive health services including sexual and reproductive health and rights and have a robust gender & sexual disaggregated data collection, follow-up, and review processes.
Lastly, holistic gender integration is needed i.e., in politics, economy, religion, governance, business, socially, etc.
By Ndivile Mokoena
GenderCC SA – Women for Climate Justice
Farmers and gardeners are constantly faced with challenges in the garden. One of the biggest sources of headaches for farmers is pests.
The worsening food and nutrition insecurity in sub-Saharan African communities demands the promotion of African indigenous crops such as Bambara
nuts and cowpeas to play a central role in addressing food insecurity, associated health concerns and climate change.
Civil society and grassroots groups across Africa staged a sit-in and protest action at the exhibition centre of the UNFCCC COP 26 in Glasgow to demand that African delegates attending the negotiations reject handouts and instead advance real solutions to the climate crisis.