You are currently viewing RWA Lesotho: Climate Change Impact on Rural Women in Lesotho

RWA Lesotho: Climate Change Impact on Rural Women in Lesotho

by Tshidy Phakoe

Climate change has a profound impact on rural communities, particularly affecting women who often bear the brunt of environmental and social challenges. In Lesotho, recent heavy snowfalls have disrupted mobility, exacerbating the difficulties faced by rural women. These women are often responsible for securing food, water, and fuel, making them especially vulnerable during extreme weather events.

Rural women in Lesotho and similar regions frequently engage in small-scale projects to mitigate these impacts. For instance, the creation of wonder bags—an energy-saving cooking method—helps reduce fuel consumption, which is particularly beneficial when traditional resources are scarce or inaccessible. Such initiatives are crucial for promoting sustainability and resilience in these communities.

The broader picture of climate change’s impact on women highlights several key issues:

1. Economic Disparities: Women often have less access to resources like land, water, and financial services, which hinders their ability to adapt to climate changes effectively. Female-headed households, in particular, face significant income losses compared to male-headed households under similar conditions

2. Increased Workload: Climate change increases the burden of unpaid domestic and care work on women. In many regions, they spend significantly more time than men on tasks like collecting water and firewood, activities that become even more time-consuming as resources become scarcer

3. Health and Safety Risks: Extreme weather events and environmental degradation disproportionately affect women’s health and safety. They are more likely to be injured or die in disasters due to longstanding gender inequalities in mobility and access to information and resources

4. Exclusion from Decision-Making: Women are often sidelined from climate-related decision-making processes, despite their critical role in managing natural resources and household resilience. Empowering women and involving them in policy-making can lead to more effective and inclusive climate action

In addressing these challenges, it is essential to promote gender-responsive policies and initiatives that recognize and leverage the unique contributions of women to climate resilience. This includes providing better access to education, resources, and decision-making platforms, as well as supporting innovative community-based projects like those in Lesotho.

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