Policy Brief =- Climate Change and Its Impact on Women's Economic Empowerment In Nigeria South-East
Climate Change and Its Impact on Women's Economic Empowerment in the Nigerian South-East
Climate change is a global challenge with far-reaching consequences for human life, including economic development and gender equality. In the Nigerian South-East region, climate change poses unique threats to women's economic empowerment, exacerbating existing gender disparities. This brief examines the specific impacts of climate change on women in the region and highlights the importance of addressing these challenges to promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth.
1. Agriculture and Food Security:
Climate change affects agricultural productivity, reducing crop yields and increasing vulnerability to pests, diseases, and extreme weather events. In the Nigerian South-East, where agriculture is a significant livelihood source, women play a crucial role as small-scale farmers and food processors. However, climate change-induced challenges such as unpredictable rainfall patterns and prolonged droughts disproportionately affect women's agricultural productivity and income, undermining their economic empowerment.
a. Improve access to climate-smart agricultural practices and technologies specifically targeting women farmers.
b. Enhance women's access to financial services, including credit and insurance schemes, to build resilience against climate risks in agriculture.
c. Promote gender-responsive agricultural extension services to provide women with the necessary knowledge and skills to adapt to climate change impacts.
2. Natural Resource Management:
In the South-East region, women are actively involved in natural resource-dependent activities such as water collection, fuelwood collection, and small-scale trading of forest products. However, climate change affects the availability and accessibility of these resources, leading to increased workloads and reduced income for women. Moreover, deforestation, erosion, and biodiversity loss further threaten women's economic opportunities linked to natural resource management.
a. Promote sustainable and inclusive natural resource management practices involving women in decision-making.
b. Provide alternative income-generating opportunities for women through training and support in sustainable businesses and value chains.
c. Strengthen measures to conserve and restore ecosystems, protecting women's livelihoods and enhancing resilience to climate change.
3. Access to Energy:
In the Nigerian South-East, women are often primarily responsible for household energy needs. Climate change impacts, such as increased energy demands due to extreme temperatures and limited access to clean energy alternatives, burden women. Reliance on traditional and inefficient energy sources also contributes to indoor air pollution, negatively affecting women's health and wellbeing.
a. Expand access to clean and affordable energy sources, including clean cooking technologies, to reduce women's time spent on energy-related tasks.
b. Promote women's participation in renewable energy projects and provide training and financial support for women entrepreneurs.
c. Raise awareness about the health and environmental benefits of clean energy alternatives to encourage behavior change.
Addressing the gendered impacts of climate change on women's economic empowerment is crucial for sustainable development in the Nigerian South East. By implementing gender-responsive policies and interventions that enhance women's adaptive capacities, access to resources, and participation in decision-making, it is possible to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change on women and promote inclusive economic growth. Integrating gender considerations into climate change strategies will empower women and contribute to the region's resilience and overall development in the face of a changing climate.