''Women play an essential role in the management of natural resources, including soil, water,forests and energy and often have a profound traditional and contemporary knowledge of the natural world around them'' (WorldBank). However,attention needs to be paid on the differential cause and effect of environmental degradation on men and women; and importantly, the role of women as agents of change in mitigation and adaptation to the changing environment. It is very true that men and women use resources differently and have different roles in society. However, in order to be effective, strategies to preserve and sustain the environment should pay close attention to the impact of the disparities between women and men's access to environmental and natural resources and opportunities. Read more/ download here!
Gender equality on the other hand is a development objective in its own right, and sustainable development strategies ought to aim to foster women’s empowerment and effective
participation. This means that women and men are supposed to be involved as partners in formulating and implementing strategies which provide equal opportunities. Besides, the
effects of environment degradation are experienced by both men and women.
Women’s triple role as water, firewood and food collectors, put them so close to the environment and so, they tend to face a lot of challenges which include;1)Spending a lot of time and energy in fetching water and collecting firewood.2)Facing the effect of extreme weather such as drought and floods resulting into food and water shortages.3)Loss of school time by girl children and leading to poor academic performance when fetching water and firewood.4) Exposure to sexual violence as they delay at wells or forests in search of water and firewood.
Uganda has a National Gender Strategy, which requires all development programmes in the country to mainstream gender in their policies and operations. In line with this, the Directorate of Environmental Affairs of the Ministry of Water and Environment has developed this Gender Strategy to guide mainstreaming Gender in the sub-sector. Once mainstreamed it is envisaged that the current unsustainable use of environmental resources will be curtailed. This will further translate into reduced poverty as inequalities in environmental resource use, access and management will be addressed.
This Gender Strategy will undoubtedly serve as a reference document for all ENR stakeholders, creating a foundation upon which ENR key players and stakeholders can holistically mainstream gender into policy formulation, implementation, capacity building, project programming, environmental management, monitoring and evaluation. I therefore trust that as you read and make use of the strategy you will be able to draw from the guiding interventions that are gender responsive for improved environmental management and poverty reduction.