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In Kenya, another list…another burden for women?

July 31, 2009

On the heels of the much talked about Waki List, another list has surfaced to the ire of increasingly cynical Kenyans. 

Prime Minister Odinga has named a list of high ranking officials illegally owning land in Kenya’s prized Mau Forest, which has been increasingly allotted, burned and inhabited over the years to the detriment of the environment and water supply countrywide. 

This means it’s increasingly difficult to access clean drinking water and firewood, for which many women in Kenya are responsible on behalf of their families.  In other parts of the world, water and firewood shortages have meant women walking further and to places where their security is jeopardized.  The destruction of the Mau Forest has meant erosion, drought and a slew of other environmental burdens — which in parts of the country fall heavily on its women.

Famed environmentalist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai, founder of the Green Belt Movement, has campaigned for years on the conservation and reforestation of water shed areas throughout Africa, including the Mau Forest.  Maathai intertwines environmentalism with feminism and the empowerment of especially poor communities. 

Her work touches upon a growing debate in global development, over whether climate change is disporportionately burdening the women of the world.   There’s good reason to think so.

And women are also taking the leadership role in addressing this burden.  Check out these stories of women around the world, leading efforts on climate change issues in their communities.

Read, “Is Climate Change a Gender Issue?” UNDP

J.Mack is a global feminist residing in Nairobi, Kenya

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