African women carry the major social and environmental costs, but these are not recognised and women’s struggles are generally not supported:
- As the primary producers and processors in agriculture, women carry the brunt of the major environmental damages – oil spills, the acidification of rain, soil pollution etc. – arising from the extractives and energy industries, which undermine production and negatively impact on food production.
- As those performing the bulk of care work within families and communities, women are currently coping with the externalised short to medium term costs of ill-health and increased poverty and hunger of fossil fuel extraction and combustion, as well as the long term impact of climate change. They represent the most obvious group to nurture as leaders of social struggles.
- Women carry very particular impacts of the violence and militarisation associated with the extractives industries. This includes high levels of inter-personal violence and violence against women (VAW) in artisanal mining sites and in the settlements adjacent to extractives industries; the gender-specific violence which accompanies state and corporate repression of artisanal miners and communities resisting dispossession and dislocation; and in more general terms the violent denial of the livelihoods of communities who stand in the path of rapacious extractives industries.
African women practice and envisage powerful solutions to the challenges confronting humanity and the planet:
- Because of the structural position of women in society and the key roles they perform – food production, care work, the management of communally-held natural resources etc. – women hold a powerful vantage point to inform our collective thinking about the development alternatives.
- Women do not generally benefit from employment in the extractives industries and are therefore more likely to see beyond the short term benefits of high risk, and poorly paid jobs.
- Despite the powerful potentialities of women’s contributions to struggles against fossil fuel extraction, combustion and refining, solidarity and support organisations working on the extractives, natural resources and environmental justice terrain have generally neglected a women’s rights and women’s organising focus. And this paucity of support has been exacerbated by the limited presence of women’s rights organisations and women’s organising efforts on terrains of struggle addressing economic justice: land and natural resources, energy etc.
- African women are living the REAL alternatives to this deeply destructive capitalist, patriarchal, extractivist model of development in the ways they produce food, conserve and steward natural resources, and take care of their families and communities. African women, hold the solutions to the many crises of ecology, climate, food, water, energy, transport and development that the planet and its people confront. The campaign will advance a powerful vision of development built from the needs and perspectives of the majority of African women.