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Women are more vulnerable to effects of climate change – Expert

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Climate change watchers have observed that women are more vulnerable to the effects of the phenomenon because they are mostly poor and depend on raw natural resources for livelihood.

According to the experts, a recent study has confirmed that climate change often impacts the areas that form the basis of livelihoods for most women such as farming, fetching of firewood and processing of fish for sale among others.

Dr Ellen Lawson, of the Institute of Environment and Sanitation, University of Ghana (UG), made the observation at a climate change training workshop for journalists at Akosombo.

She said if nothing was done to adapt and mitigate the effects of climate change, women would continue to be worst off.

Dr Lawson said the effects of climate change, which had resulted in rising temperatures, declining rainfall, rising sea levels, high incidence of extreme disasters such as flooding, impacted negatively on women.

According to her, although climate change affects all sexes, that of women were severe because of societal perception and stereotypes regarding the different expected roles of women and men in a given society.

Dr Lawson said women also suffer because of their roles as mothers and home makers in society since climate change effects include difficult access to water for home chores, wood
for fire, limited rainfall also make farming difficult.

In the Ghanaian society, women performed most of the chores that involved fetching water from the river, fetching wood from the forests for firewood and harvesting farm produce among many others and these are areas that climate change mostly affects.

In an interview with the GNA, some women resident of selected farming communities in the Eastern Region said of late the weather conditions were changing, adding that it was difficult to get firewood and that the rains were not predictable to enable them plant their crops.

They said they also experienced periodical drying up of streams in their communities, which they relied on for their source of water and therefore had to walk long distances to access water for their household chores.

Mrs Ama Kudom Agyeman, an environmental journalist and leader of the Media Development Programme of the African Adaptation Programme (AAP) and the Washington based International Centre for Journalists (ICFJ), said climate change was no longer just a science matter but a developmental issue that must attract the attention of journalists to educate and create awareness on its effects.

She said climate change encompasses the economy, health, national security, agriculture and food security, poverty and sustainable livelihoods, gender and adaptation responses, which were critical to policy formulation.

Source: GNA

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