Gender based impacts of resource extraction and climate change
In addition to its impacts on the climate, large-scale resource extraction disproportionately impacts women, perpetuates violence and puts at risk women who mobilize to protect the land and water from these projects. KAIROS works with partners in Canada and the Global South to make visible the particular impacts of resource extraction on women and their unique role in defending community rights and the environment.
Today we feature the work of KAIROS partner WoMin – African Women Unite Against Destructive Resource Extraction. Launched in October 2013, WoMin is an African gender and extractives alliance, which works to advance, in alliance with numerous others, an African post-extractivist eco-just women-centred alternative to the dominant destructive model of development.
In their work and in their film, Women Hold Up the Sky, WoMin shares the experiences of working class, peasant and Indigenous women impacted by coal, oil and mega-dams in South Africa, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The women face water contamination, drought, land grabs, forced removal, and energy challenges from the presence of these large-scale projects, all of which impacts their livelihoods and the health and well-being of their families and communities.
WoMin explains how the destruction from large-scale resource extraction exacerbates challenges for women:
“Climate change is a major ecological and planetary threat. Erosion, drought, and water scarcity are increasingly related to climate change, which has a serious impact on forest and land-based production. Agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa is 95% rain-fed, and across the region, women spend an average of five hours a day collecting water and firewood for household use. When water sources dry up, when lands become unproductive, and floods occur, it is African working class and peasant women who carry the heaviest burden of all.”
Despite these challenges, women are coming together in resistance and active struggle to take back control of their land, their rights, their bodies and their lives. Today’s resources and actions provide an opportunity to learn more about the gendered impacts of resource extraction through the work of WoMin, but also through the experience of other women around the world through the KAIROS resource hub, Mother Earth and Resource Extraction.
Explore the WoMin Resource library for these and other publications on climate justice for women in Africa:
- Women Building Power Towards Climate and Energy Justice for Women in Africa (2016)
- If another world is possible, who is doing the imagining? Building an ecofeminist development alternative in a time of deep systemic crisis (2019)
Join the screening and discussion of Women Hold Up the Sky tonight at 7 pm ET.
Explore the KAIROS MERE Hub. Mother Earth and Resource Extraction: Women Defending Land and Water is a living digital resource hub developed for and in consultation with women land and water defenders who are at the forefront in the protection of the environment, in Canada and across the globe. The hub brings together a range of original and existing material to support research, advocacy, information sharing, and movement building around the subject of resource extraction and its gendered implications.