Gender Based Violence and Climate Change
Gender based violence and climate change have a connection with a lot of negatives that tends to be overlooked and it needs a multisectoral approach in addressing it. We need to collaborate with the government, the civil society organisations, traditional and religious leaders and the community at large.
When natural disasters hit, they bring further calamities to the already vulnerable women and girls. Drought increases stress in communities which then leads to more conservative patriarchal practices such as preferences for sons over daughters, intimate partner violence and child marriage. This is because the family is not able to meet the basic needs hence, they see it wise to give away their daughters which is very wrong.
During time of resource scarcity, women are forced to walk long distances in search for water and food for the family because that is what defines their womanhood and by doing so, they are coerced into sexual exploitation and abuse and even in exchange for goods and services. Now imagine the mental health of those women walking long distances to fetch water for the family to use and those little girls who are married off so that the family can have food and other things. How are they coping with the situation and how are they dealing with the trauma of being taken from the classroom to go and be a MUROORA (a daughter in-law)? How about the physical health conditions that comes along with that type of abuse? How about loss of confidence and low self-esteem and how about their unfulfilled dreams? The questions end up being rhetorical because no one is willing to stand up.
This is a call to action to put women first. Because of women, there is life, there is food and there is happiness. It is time to put women at the forefront and strengthen their agency for inclusive measures on climate change mitigation and resilience. We need to also consider women in terms of psychosocial social support and mental health at large in this context. Failure to act on the effects of climate change on gender based violence (including child marriages) can perpetuate the cycle of violence and undermine the resilience of the community to climate change and further restrain development progress.
End violence against women
End child marriages
#16 days of activism
Vimbiso Yvette Deka
Vimbiso Yvette Deka is a 22-year-old young woman who is a self-motivated advocate and aspiring development officer. Vimbiso is interested in issues of gender and empowerment. Currently Vimbiso is studying for an honors degree in Development studies at Bindura University of Science Education. Vimbiso is doing her Attachment at NG Development Agency. She was part of the consultancy for Caritas Harare on Gender, Child protection and people living with disabilities. She also participated in the COTLA research on the role of traditional leaders in the wellbeing and development of youths and adolescents with data collection at country level. Vimbiso is currently involved in MARCH-ZIM research project with RMT in collaboration with WUA and UCL. She also works with RMT, Girls and Goals and Ree inspiration for girl child empowerment as a volunteer around issues of gender, economic empowerment, and ending harmful practices.