Climate change affects gender

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By Paul Pindani

CLIMATE change has had a lot of impact on communities, and is affecting gender, especially
those in rural set ups.
Climate change affects men and women differently, culturally, socially and economically.
Stanley Mudzingwa, from Hunyani high-density suburbs, in Chinhoyi, said cultural dimensions
resulted in men and women being impacted differently.
Mudzingwa said male-dominated societies tended to pile more pressure on women and children
economically and from a health perspective.
Certain diseases resulting from climate change effects affected gender differently.” Same
happens with emotional stress, the levels are different for men and women.
“Opportunities too, climate change may detect who gets to benefit and who misses out,” said
Mudzingwa.
Esther Mandebvu, a school drop-out from Sungwe, Kasonde in Kenzamba, said in economies
dependent on agriculture, financial strain was more inherent on the dominated sex.
When her father died in 2005, she had to drop out of school to fend for her young brother, while
lack of adequate rainfall and drought had a major toll on her life.
Some cultures believed in the use of women and children in agriculture and men in commerce
and industry.
“These are impacted differently by climate change. The hardships faced by a drought-stricken
society are different from the ones where unemployment and inflation are the problems,” said
Mandebvu.
Seventeen-year-old Emilda Sauke, of Hombwe in Makonde, said climate change had a negative
impact on most rural children whose schools often had their roofs blown away by heavy winds
leaving a trail of destruction of the Infrastructure.
As a result, normal school was disrupted.
“Children have been the major victims as they bear the brunt of not attending lessons due to
flooded rivers,” explained Sauke.
Michelle Mavhenyengwa, from Mhondoro urged the Government to put some mechanism in
place to safeguard communities, especially children against the impacts of climate change.

Inadequate rainfall in her community, Mavhenyengwa said, had resulted in acute food and water
insecurity.
“Children are suffer from malnutrition and some of us have to travel more than eight kilometres
to fetch for water. Indeed, climate change has had an effect on our water security,” she said.
During a climate change and children’s workshop held recently in the capital, the Government
said it recognised that children were the most vulnerable to climate change in Zimbabwe, with an
estimated 6,5 million children at risk from the impact of climate-induced emergencies.
The Government said many children have been affected by the climate crisis, and many have
faced traumas from climate events

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