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Effects of Climate Change - How Secure Are the Women of Ghana?

Nigeria
The Chronicle
12/09/2010

Who says what women can do men cannot do, and do it better? The rapid development of modernity, technology and economy, as well as the climate, has made it possible for both genders to engage in activities, irrespective of what it is that will help them cope with the daily hardships of the world.

The slogan of the Beijing Conference: "What a man can do, a woman can do, and better," is almost becoming the vice versa. Gone were the days when the woman's place was only in the kitchen and cleaning, and the man's place was on the war field.

Things seem to have changed now, as men, apart from helping to cook in the kitchen as well go to the extent of taking cooking, cleaning and even nursing in various hospitals careers. Women, as well, now wear the helmet of bravery, and go to war, or join the military of a nation to defend their country.

In as much as these responsibilities are shared, it is very unfortunate that during the period of natural crises like the climate change, women seem to suffer the most, due to their natural responsibilities and tendencies.

Even though men try to assume the role of women, just for financial purposes, women, in most cases, do not get the same opportunity when the situation arises. The question is, if responsibilities and careers seem to be chosen, or shared equally to suit both genders, why can't rights be shared equally?

Equal rights are not about women wanting to take the position of men, but about giving the same opportunity to both sexes. If indeed, women are the most affected on the issue of climate change, then the rights they need to face it economically, socially and domestically, should be provided for them, as issues of climate change are no more an environmental issue, but economical, social and even an issue of governance.

The issue of climate change and its effects on women must be the priority of the government, as the intensity of poverty in a nation is more prevalent in women than in men.

What is climate change?

According to the Wikipedia, climate change is a change in the statistical properties of the climate system, when considered over periods of decades or longer, regardless of cause. Accordingly, fluctuations on periods shorter than a few decades, such as, do not represent climate change.

The term, sometimes, is used to refer specifically to climate change caused by human activity; for example, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, defines climate change as "a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere, and which is in addition to natural climate variability, observed over comparable time periods."

In Ghana, climate change has been as a result of activities like industrial pollution, water pollution, heavy rains, long dry season, deforestation and sea erosion. All the regions in the country experience one of these activities.

In the Volta Region, at the town of Keta, sea erosion is gradually taking over the land every day. People's houses and properties have been taken over by the sea. The roads which make travelling easier, have been washed away by the sea, making it very difficult for them to be used by two vehicles at a time.

Effects of climate change on women

Even though everyone suffers the effect of climate, women indeed, suffer the most, and apart from they being the greater part of the world's population, they as well constitute the greater part of the global agriculture population, and as well have access to less income than men.

The effect of climate change has become a threat to the progress of the world, and if not well dealt with, might have a drastic impact on the environment, economic and social development. According to research, climate change is likely to exacerbate both natural disasters and potential conflicts over resources. Research by a foreign based organisation, indicates that in a sample of 141 countries, over the period 1981-2002, it was found that natural disasters, on the average, kill more women than men.

The effect of climate change on agriculture, which has the tendency of drought and irregular rainfall, compels women to work harder to secure food, water and energy for the home. Girls, as well, drop out of school to help parents with various domestic tasks.

The depriving of the girl child from an education might bring about the vicious cycle of poverty, and according to studies, might as well bring about inequality, which will undermine the social capital needed to deal effectively with climate change.

In the northern parts of the country, the effect of climate change has been very visible in the lives of women. The effect of the sun rays in the northern part of the country has led to the disappearance of many water bodies, leading to the people experiencing water shortages and lack of portable water.

Women who are in charge of the households have no choice than to walk for miles before getting one bucket of water to take care of the home. For some, due to the distance they decide to bring to the water side their dirty clothes, and that of their families, to wash them there, instead of walking for several miles just to fetch a bucket of water, which will not be sufficient for washing only.

According to these women, most of the water bodies they rely on for their domestic chores have turned into dry lands, leaving them no choice than to spend most of the hours of the day in search of water for their families.

Conclusion

The effect of climate change on women has driven even religious organisations to stand up for the rights of women. The Christian Council of Ghana (CCG), as part of its efforts towards reducing the effects of climate change on women, has come out with a project titled, "Participation of Christian and Muslim women in climate change dialogue."

According to the Council, women bear the brunt of the changes, as mangers of various households and the larger environment, yet their participation in dialogue is negligible.

In this view, building efforts of Christian and Muslim women's groups in the climate change dialogue is very important, as it will bring about a unique dimension.

In-depth studies on climate change will offer alternatives for improved quality of life for the large number of women and families they cater for. The project has 25 Christian women, selected from CCG member churches, 15 Muslim women leaders, and 10 women leaders from the Pentecostal and Charismatic councils.

These 10 participants are direct beneficiaries, however, it is expected that a target of 3,000 Christian women will have the opportunity to be indirect beneficiaries.

If religious organisations have been able to help save women during this change, then it is expected that the government and its agencies would put in more resources to help prevent the vicious cycle of the poverty level of women.

El contenido de las noticias que se presentan en esta sección es responsabilidad directa de las agencias emisoras de noticias y no necesariamente reflejan la posición del Gobierno de México en este u otros temas relacionados.

    

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