Effects of climate change on rural women in Makhado Municipality, Vhembe District, Limpopo Province, South Africa
The precarious effects of climate change burdens all humanity but not equally. Women are more encumbered by climate change impacts than men because they are highly dependent on the volatile natural resource base for their livelihood, have low adaptive capacity, high poverty levels, ascribed gender roles which limit their participation in climate change decision making processes aggravated by patriarchal dominance and acute inequalities. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how climate change is affecting rural women in Makhado municipality. This study adopted a qualitative methodology guided by multi-case study design. A sample of 60 participants were selected through simple random and purposive sampling techniques to participate in the study. Data was collected using focus group discussions and individual interviews and analysed thematically. The study established that climate change is encumbering women more than men in the agricultural, health, energy, water and livestock production sectors among others. The primary care provision role for women make them highly dependent on the above factors which are desiccating and, in most instances, scarce owing to climate change and variability. This study recommends that there is need for elimination of discrimination patterns that subject women to vulnerability to climate change. Furthermore, there is need for development of strong support systems to cushion rural women from the vagary impacts of climate change.
Key words: Effects, climate change, rural women, Makhado municipality, South Africa