Gender Dimension of Vulnerability to Climate Change and Variability: Empirical Evidence of Smallholder Farming Households in Ghana

Citation:

Alhassan, Suhiyini I., John K.M. Kuwornu, and Yaw B. Osei-Asare. 2019. "Gender Dimension of Vulnerability to Climate Change and Variability: Empirical Evidence of Smallholder Farming Households in Ghana." International Journal of Climate Change Strategies and Management 11 (2): 195-214.

Authors: Suhiyini I. Alhassan, John K.M. Kuwornu, Yaw B. Osei-Asare

Abstract:

Purpose: This paper aims to investigate farmers’ vulnerability to climate change and variability in the northern region of Ghana. 
 
Design/methodology/approach: The study assessed the vulnerability of male-headed and female-headed farming households to climate change and variability by using the livelihood vulnerability index (LVI) and tested for significant difference in their vulnerability levels by applying independent two-sample-student’s t-test based on gender by using a sample of 210 smallholder farming households. 
 
Findings: The results revealed a significant difference in the vulnerability levels of female-headed and male-headed farming households. Female–headed households were more vulnerable to livelihood strategies, socio-demographic profile, social networks, water and food major components of the LVI, whereas male-headed households were more vulnerable to health. The vulnerability indices revealed that female–headed households were more sensitive to the impact of climate change and variability. However, female-headed households have the least adaptive capacities. In all, female-headed farming households are more vulnerable to climate change and variability than male-headed farming households. 
 
Research limitations/implications: The study recommends that female-headed households should be given priority in both on-going and new intervention projects in climate change and agriculture by empowering them through financial resource support to venture into other income-generating activities. This would enable them to diversify their sources of livelihoods to boost their resilience to climate change and variability. 
 
Originality/value: This is the first study that examined the gender dimension of vulnerability of smallholder farmers in Ghana by using the livelihood vulnerability framework. Female subordination in northern region of Ghana has been profound to warrant a study on gender dimension in relation to climate change and variability, especially as it is a semi-arid region with unpredictable climatic conditions. This research revealed the comparative vulnerability of male- and female-headed households to climate change and variability.

Keywords: Ghana, gender, livelihood vulnerability, smallholder farmers, climate change and variability

Topics: Agriculture, Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Households, Livelihoods Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Ghana

Year: 2019

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