Intersections of Gender and Marital Status in Accessing Climate Change Adaption: Evidence from Rural Tanzania


Van Aeslt, Karen and Nathalie Holvoet. 2016. “Intersections of Gender and Marital Status in Accessing Climate Change Adaption: Evidence from Rural Tanzania." World Development 79: 40-50.

Authors: Karen Van Aeslt, Nathalie Holvoet


Climate scholars are increasingly recognizing the importance of gender in climate change vulnerability, but often either dichotomize men and women as homogeneous categories or limit themselves to comparing male- and female-headed households. We use an intersectionality framework to examine how the adaptive strategies of Tanzanian farmers are mediated through their gender and marital statuses. Drawing on focus group discussions and using logistic regression to analyze questionnaire data, we compare the relative adoption of the different adaptive strategies of single, married, divorced, and widowed men and women. Our study shows that, while a woman’s marital status is a vital factor in determining her access to adaptive strategies, it is a less important factor in the case of men. We show that, compared with other women, widows and female divorcees are disadvantaged in the field of agricultural water management, and divorced women assume relatively more income-earning activities outside the farming sector. Finally, we find evidence of livelihood diversification at the household level through specialization by individual household members. Based on the empirical evidence, we develop a typology with which to synthesize the linkages between gender, marital status, and adaptive strategies; and we subsequently emphasize the importance of an intersectionality approach to gender and climate change policy and practice.

Keywords: climate change adaptation, gender, marital status, livelihood, diversification, Africa, Tanzania

Topics: Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Women, Men, Households, Livelihoods Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Tanzania

Year: 2016

© 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