Livelihoods, Gender and Climate Change in the Eastern Himalayas

Citation:

Bhadwal, Suruchi, Ghanashyam Sharma, Ganesh Gorti, and Sudeshna Maya Sen. 2019. "Livelihoods, Gender and Climate Change in the Eastern Himalayas." Environmental Development 31: 68-77.

Authors: Suruchi Bhadwal, Ghanashyam Sharma, Ganesh Gorti, Sudeshna Maya Sen

Abstract:

The Hindukush Himalayan region encompasses a large area covering many countries in the North, South and Central parts of Asia. People living in these mountains face huge complexities arising from a number of factors including terrain characteristics, micro-climates, environmental degradation, access to basic services etc. These complexities vary as one moves geographically from one region to the other. The State of Sikkim in the North Eastern part of India also observes similar challenges. Exposure to extreme events is location specific and communities settled in high, mid and low altitudinal regions are differentially affected. Climate change impacts are disproportionate and influence lives and livelihoods variedly. One crucial determinant of these disproportionate impacts is gender – existing social norms determine roles and responsibilities, entitlements and capabilities, thereby influencing the individual perceptions of shocks and susceptibility which vary across gender groups. The paper seeks to draw insights from the various field studies conducted in these locations to understand the gender vulnerabilities that manifest through a combination of complex and interlinked factors. It seeks to understand the existing social practices typically associated with these gender groups and how changes in the climate are and potentially influence vulnerability. The study makes use of qualitative research methods to understand the gender roles, responsibilities. The study tries to bridge a crucial gap in research – of providing empirical evidence on gender mediated vulnerability in an under-researched climatic hotspot – the Hindu Kush Himalayan region. The study reiterates the role of place-based vulnerability in influencing lives and livelihoods and emphasises on the lack of access to human, financial and natural capitals as predominantly driving gendered vulnerabilities.

Keywords: mountains, complexities, gender, livelihoods, vulnerabilities, intersectionality

Topics: Environment, Climate Change, Environmental Disasters, Gender, Livelihoods Regions: Asia, Central Asia, South Asia

Year: 2019

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