Empower Women For Environmental Sustainability

The whole world, last week commemorated the International Women’s Day (IWD)―a day often forgotten until its arrival. And when it arrives, it does so with its pomp and splendor; greeting cards splattered in colours of pink―only for it to fall into a fitful sleep until another year. Though the celebration has been ritualized we can make a difference this year by ensuring that women are not just celebrated with greeting cards and messages of hope. As a nation, we can give them something better―empowerment.

It is for this reason that A Rocha Ghana makes a clarion call on government to invest in the empowerment of women for environmental sustainability. We are aware of government’s plans in enhancing women’s participation in decision-making and the promotion of affirmative action in order to reduce gender disparity. But it is sad to note that these plans are watered-down in areas of environmental sustainability.

When there is an environmental issue, women bear the brunt; they receive the thrust of the burden but they are scarcely involved in the solutions that are planned and implemented.

Build the capacity of women on environmental issues

For example women in many areas depend heavily on forests and the public goods they provide for their livelihood but these same women often have limited hands in the activities that contribute to deforestation and forest degradation either do they reap the economic benefits associated with it. Another area that has been overlooked is the disproportionate impact of climate change on women. Also ignored are the opportunities for empowering women in the tackling of global warming issues.

Until these are taken on board and women are empowered to play a full part in decision-making at all levels, environmental sustainability may remain a distant goal.

We therefore make these suggestions that government among other things:

  1. Raise awareness and build the capacity of women on environmental issues
  2. Train women on natural resource management
  3. Make room for women to participate in climate protection negotiations at all levels and in all decisions on climate protection.
  4. Strengthen economic opportunities for women to engage in the sustainable management of forests and natural resources, to derive income from agro-forestry products.

In as much as government’s attention has been drawn to the need for women to be empowered for environmental sustainability, A Rocha Ghana urges fellow Civil Society Organizations (CSO) to remain unanimous in the their capacity to integrate solutions that address the underlying drivers of the marginalization of women in the country.

We also take this opportunity to pay tribute and applaud all extra-ordinary women who have made diverse contributions to the conservation of the environment. May your contribution be a motivation for other women to be part of the drive to foster sanctity in the environmental sector.

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