Gendered Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change


Alston, Margaret. 2020. “Gendered Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change.” In Routledge Handbook of Gender and Agriculture, edited by Carolyn E. Sachs, Leif Jensen, Paige Castellanos, and Kathleen Sexsmith, 137-48. Abingdon: Routledge.

Author: Margaret Alston


This chapter challenges the notion of women as either undifferentiated vulnerable victims of climate change events or virtuous defenders of environmental health, arguing the need for a complex attention to the intersectional factors that shape gender vulnerability in the face of climate disasters. Offering a nuanced assessment of vulnerability, adaptation, and resilience, the chapter argues for a commitment to transformative resilience to address the potential for gender inequalities to be cemented by climate-based actions. Noting the widespread dominance of climate denial amongst policy makers and the slow and incremental attention to gender at international climate forums, the chapter notes the need for critical attention to gender. Outlining the gender impacts of health impacts, food and water insecurity, and displacement, the chapter notes that gender, poverty, and rurality are critical elements of vulnerability. Moving forward the chapter calls for attention to the complexity of gender and power relations in climate change policies and practices to give the lie to the simplistic notion of women as vulnerable or virtuous.

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Climate Displacement, Economies, Poverty, Environment, Climate Change, Environmental Disasters, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Health, Intersectionality, Security, Food Security

Year: 2020

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