In the past decade climate change has been taking more seriously by the political world, or so we thought. There have been several policies created to prevent further consequences from climate change in the Global South, specifically in regard to gender mainstreamed policies, however, these have failed to help the climate struggle; and this is especially prevalent in East Africa.
There are gender mainstreamed policies in existence, but a lack of implementation and effectiveness to the vulnerabilities of women in climate change. One source stated that, “82% of the sampled national level policies in Uganda integrate gender. However, 33% of those integrating gender do not have implementation strategies” (Ampaire, Acosta & Huyer, 2020).
There is a trend of the highlight of gender impacts from climate change in conferences and politics through policy creation, but a lack of follow through. This was also seen in the 1992 International Conference on Water and the Environment held in Dublin, Ireland, which discussed issues regarding women without a strategy or plan. “Dublin Principle III… simply states the centrality of women to water and of water to women. No specific actions or recommendations are embedded in its language” (Ray, 2017).
Several policies relevant to women and climate change lack follow through strategies or implementation tactics that are effective. They lack adaptability in various cultural environments as they were ignored in state-to-state policies. There is also no community motivation to implement these policies due to the failure to recognize the significance of the gendered realities and everyday experiences. Based on the research gathered, it was evident that there were two most common scenarios regarding policies about women’s vulnerability to climate change. The first was that “gender is not sufficiently mainstreamed in many areas of development policy and practice” (Nelson, 2002), while the second concerns ineffective policies that have no follow-through. Several of the policies regarding climate change and gender are very recent, due to this, the failure in implementation could relate to the unfamiliarity the public or governments have with climate change in East Africa. The policies that are put in place with the intention to benefit women in vulnerability also need an implementation process, as countries such as Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Tanzania “have not put in place a legislative framework to address climate change and relies heavily on policies” ( Aura, Nyasimi, Cramer & Thornton, 2017).
The policies that were present regarding women’s vulnerabilities to climate change in Eastern Africa were ineffective and lacked applicability and follow through in helping the communities it intended to benefit. However, it is significant to note that women are not able to suddenly change or stop their responsibilities suddenly because several livelihoods depend on their roles within society. As a result, this creates a dilemma for the implementation of policies, as they do not have the time, resources, support, or options to alter their roles suddenly. However, these policies can still be effective if they are created with the communities needs in mind, and with a collaborative effort that could ensure a scenario that would benefit everyone.