Encountering Gendered Spaces in Climate Change Policy in India: Migration and Adaptation


Hans, Asha, Sugata Hazra, Shouvik Das, and Amrita Patel. 2019. “Encountering Gendered Spaces in Climate Change Policy in India: Migration and Adaptation.” Journal of Migration Affairs 2 (1): 1–24.

Authors: Asha Hans, Sugata Hazra, Shouvik Das, Amrita Patel


“This article adopts a feminist methodology (Kannabiran and Swaminathan, 2017) to draw attention to the gender inequalities inherent in how climate change affects people (Agarwal 2010, 2000; Elmhirst, 2011). This is put in perspective by the knowledge that while women exercise individual agency in responding to climate change, their reactions are located within political and socio-economic contexts. The feminist approach in this chapter is drawn from the writings of both academics and activists (Shiva1988; Patel 2019; Nathan et al. 2018; Rao and Hans 2018; Chanda et al. 2017). The writings initially linked the environment to nature (Bose 2010; Shiva 1988) before shifting course to analyse the ground-level realities of climate change, including gender norms and changing gender roles (Chanda et al. 2017; Rao and Hans 2018; Kelkar, 2009). Examining the role of policy in promoting gender equality remained sidelined since existing policy was weak: incorporating UNFCCC gender directives in the policy was not a priority. International commitments by India’s policymakers had little impact on women who continued to be vulnerable and excluded from decision-making (DECCMA 2017). Our use of a policy framework must accompany an acknowledgment that climate change is a political phenomenon and hence, strongly linked to women’s location within the power structure which determines their access to resources and agency to effect positive change in their social and material conditions. A question yet to be asked in the context of climate change is: where are women situated in the body politic? It is not an easy question to answer because the climate policy has relied on a scientific approach, with the focus being on mitigation, instead of a socio-political one. This has kept the majority of women out of discussions on climate change (Subramaniam 2016; Held 2011). This article agrees with Joni Seager’s view that climate change must now be approached with an eye to “privilege, power and geography” (Seager 2009). From a feminist perspective, privilege and power are important components of patriarchy” (Hans et al. 2019, 4).

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Migration, Environment, Climate Change, Feminisms, Gender, Gender Roles, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Patriarchy Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: India

Year: 2019

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