Gender & Climate Change

Adapting to Climate Change: Gender and Climate Change

Although the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report recognized that gender roles and relations impact both vulnerability and capacity to adapt to climate change, research on this topic is at a surprisingly preliminary stage. We know from research on gender and development as well as work on gender vulnerability to disasters, that gender issues are complexly interlinked to vulnerability to the effects of climate change.

In those countries where women bear primary responsibility for agricultural work and/or for collecting water and fuel, changes in precipitation patterns due to climate change is expected to have a disproportionate impact on the lives of these women and their children, resulting in food shortages and making fuel or water collection more difficult. Studies from gender and disaster research such as the cyclones in Bangladesh and Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana reveal that gender and poverty intersect to make poor women most vulnerable. Gender differences also exist in adaptation to climate change.

Differential power relations and access to resources between men and women often result in different levels of vulnerability and adaptive capacity to risks such as droughts, floods, and storms. Women often have fewer rights to land, credit, and capital that would facilitate adaptation to climate change.

As new international policies are being debated and defined, it is crucial to understand the possible differential impact of these policies on women and men.

Aims and objectives

This project will bring together scholars from WUN and other universities in the US, Africa, Australia, and Europe who are beginning to conduct research on gender and climate change via two face-to-face meetings and a virtual learning centers designed to share initial findings, define research agendas, and develop collaborative partnerships leading to external funding applications, policy-relevant research, and joint publications. Our goal is to develop theoretical, methodological, and ethical approaches to studying this important topic.

For more information, please see the The Gender Justice and Global Climate Change Network website