African Women meet in Nairobi, launch the Women Gender Constituency pressure group

By Imali Ngusale  

As Nairobi’s vibrancy reaches a crescendo, the world remains fixated on the Africa Climate Week set to commence in less than 24 hours.

In light of this, African women in all their diversities met in Nairobi to launch the Africa Women and Gender Constituency and unpack their lived experiences that have disproportionately affected their lives and livelihood.

Speaking during the launch, Lorraine Chiponda from Don’t Gas Africa said, “African women have been affected and pained by the climate disasters. Africa therefore does not have the luxury to adopt false solutions such as climate markets and climate-off settings. We need solutions now!”

Memory Kachambwa, the Executive Director of the African Women’s Development and Communications Network (FEMNET), said, “We cannot talk about a just transition when women are not at the centre. We want decisions on climate justice to be all-inclusive because we have all been affected by the climate crisis.”

Reiterating the same, “We want climate justice but we also demand gender justice,” said Mildred Ngesa, a renowned Pan-African feminist and journalist.

“African women know where the shoe pinches,” added Ngesa. “Women have suffered the loss and damage from the climate crisis and their perspectives must never be left behind.”

Notably, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2023 report underscores that effective climate governance is enabled by inclusivity. The report also notes that women are susceptible to multiple risks related to the climate crisis and recommends that actions that prioritize equity, climate justice, social justice, and inclusion need to be considered while supporting transformative change and climate-resilient development.

The Africa Women and Gender Constituency group is poised to discuss the challenges African women in all their diversities encounter. The group also seeks to consolidate their asks and table them to key decision-makers ahead of COP 28 set to take place in Dubai.

“With the power of our collective voices we can dismantle oppression and remove the colonial structures of racism and patriarchy that inhibit climate crisis,” said Dr. Melania Chiponda, the Gender Advisor of the African Activists for Climate Justice.

“Africa is our business and climate change is African women’s priority,” said Miriam Nthenge a human rights advocate.

“In sisterhood and solidarity, we are smashing the patriarchy, colonialism, capitalism, neoliberalism, and imperialism for climate and gender justice,” lauded Sarah Nannyondo Okello from Akima Mama wa Afrika while addressing the session.

“Africa Climate Summit should focus on inclusivity at the policy formulation level,” said Yvonne Muya from SHE Nature.

Paradoxically, Irene Asuwa an Ecological and community mobilizer and organizer, said, “The Africa Climate Summit has nothing for us, we have to have alternative spaces to air out our challenges.”

Asuwa said the Africa Climate Summit has been chaotic and people have already lost confidence in the intention it had.