Women’s Perspectives and Experiences of Climate Change: The Case of Rural Kwazulu Natal, South Africa

Fanelesibonge Masinga, University of KwaZulu-Natal
Pranitha Maharaj, University of KwaZulu-Natal
Divane Nzima, University of the Free State

The world is currently seized with the problem of climate change and this manifests in different forms that include amongst others drought, severe heat and rising sea levels. In rural South Africa, inconsistent rainfall patterns have been the most notable manifestation of climate change. This is because it affects subsistence agriculture which poses a direct threat to food security. Since women are at the centre of food production through subsistence farming in rural South Africa, this study explores the challenges they face in rural KwaZulu- Natal using a qualitative approach. Two focus groups discussions (FGDs) were conducted with women whose livelihoods were mainly dependent on subsistence farming. Findings suggest that women have been experiencing a reduction in harvests owing to drought. In addition, diversification of livelihoods through fishing activities has been affected as water sources have dried up. Women are finding it difficult to adapt and cope to climate change.

See paper.

  Presented in Session 124. Gender Dimensions of Vulnerability to Climate Change as Well as Gender Dimension of Natural Resources