How Do Gender Relations Shape a Community's Ability to Adapt to Climate Change? Insights from Nepal's Community Forestry


Bhattarai, Basundhara. 2020. "How Do Gender Relations Shape a Community's Ability to Adapt to Climate Change? Insights from Nepal's Community Forestry." Climate and Development. doi:10.1080/17565529.2019.1701971.

Author: Basundhara Bhattarai


Despite notable policy reforms and development actions, gender inequality persists in environmental management in Nepal. In this paper, I present an in-depth case study to demonstrate how the persistence of gender-based inequality in community forestry has, or is likely to have, impacted the possibility to adapt to climate change, and then also reshape gender relations in adaptation interventions. Based on this, I argue that adaptation initiatives which rest on existing gender inequitable forest management institutions are likely to exacerbate gender-based inequality, further hampering the longer-term socio-ecological resilience. Although gender inequality is not created solely either by forestry institutions or in the institutions designed for climate adaptation, community forestry institutions are increasingly reinforcing the larger patriarchal societal structure that is deeply rooted and manifested in everyday practices. I highlight the need for both forest management and adaptation policies and practices to better recognize, appreciate and address gender inequality. In order to enhance gender-equitable adaptation to climate change, I suggest re-examining and constantly monitoring the changing gender in/equality in the existing forest management institutions and service delivery mechanisms and also adjusting adaptation planning to fully harness the potential of gender equitable forest management and climate change adaptation.

Keywords: gender equity, climate change, climate adaptation, Nepal, community forestry

Topics: Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Gender Equality/Inequality, Gender Equity Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Nepal

Year: 2020

© 2023 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at