Climate Displacement

Engendering Climate Change: Learnings from South Asia


Hans, Asha, Nitya Rao, Anjal Prakash, and Amrita Patel, eds. 2021. Engendering Climate Change: Learnings from South Asia. New York & Oxon: Routledge.

Authors: Asha Hans, Nitya Rao, Anjal Prakash, Amrita Patel


This book focuses on the gendered experiences of environmental change across different geographies and social contexts in South Asia and on diverse strategies of adapting to climate variability. The book analyzes how changes in rainfall patterns, floods, droughts, heatwaves and landslides affect those who are directly dependent on the agrarian economy. It examines the socio-economic pressures, including the increase in women’s work burdens both in production and reproduction on gender relations. It also examines coping mechanisms such as male migration and the formation of women’s collectives which create space for agency and change in rigid social relations. The volume looks at perspectives from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal to present the nuances of gender relations across borders along with similarities and differences across geo-graphical, socio-cultural and policy contexts. This book will be of interest to researchers and students of sociology, development, gender, economics, environmental studies and South Asian studies. It will also be useful for policymakers, NGOs and think tanks working in the areas of gender, climate change and development.


Table of Contents:

1. Gender, Climate Change and the Politics of Vulnerability: An Introduction
Nitya Rao, Anjal Prakash, Asha Hans, and Amrita Patel

PART I: Vulnerabilities

2. Vulnerabilities of Rural Women to Climate Extremes: A Case of Semi-Arid Districts in Pakistan
Ayesha Qaisrani and Samavia Batool 

3. Gendered Vulnerabilities in Diaras: Struggles with Floods in the Gandak River Basin in Bihar, India
Pranita Bhushan Udas, Anjal Prakash, and Chanda Gurung Goodrich

4. Of Borewells and Bicycles: The Gendered Nature of Water Access in Karnataka, South India and Its Implications for Local Vulnerability
Chandni Singh

5. Vulnerabilities and Resilience of Local Women Towards Climate Change in the Indus basin
Saqib Shakell Abbasi, Muhammad Zubair Anwar, Nusrat Habib, and Qaiser Khan

6. Climate Change, Gendered Vulnerabilities and Resilience in High Mountain Communities: The Case of Upper Rasuwa in Gandaki River Basin, Hindu Kush Himalayas
Deepak Dorje Tamang and Pranita Bhushan Udas 

PART II: Adaptation and Wellbeing

7. Wells and Well-being in South India: Gender Dimensions of Groundwater Dependence
Divya Susan Solomon and Nitya Rao

8. Gender, Migration and Environmental Change in the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna Delta in Bangladesh
Katharine Vincent, Ricardo Safra de Campos, Attilan N. Lázár, and Anwara Begum

9. Women-Headed Households, Migration and Adaptation to Climate Change in the Mahanadi Delta, India
Sugata Hazra, Amrita Patel, Shouvik Das, Asha Hans, Amit Ghosh, and Jasmine Giri

10. Gender Dynamics and Climate Variability: Mapping the Linkages in the Upper Ganga Basin in Uttarakhand, India
Vani Rijhwani, Divya Sharma, Neha Khandekar, Roshan Rathod, and Mini Govindan 

11. Shaping Gendered Responses to Climate Change in South Asia
Asha Hans, Anjal Prakash, Nitya Rao, and Amrita Patel

Topics: Agriculture, Displacement & Migration, Climate Displacement, Migration, Economies, Environment, Climate Change, Environmental Disasters, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Bangladesh, India, Pakistan

Year: 2021

At the Last Well on Earth: Climate Change Is a Feminist Issue


Zoloth, Laurie. 2017. “At the Last Well on Earth: Climate Change Is a Feminist Issue.” Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion 33 (2): 139–51. 

Author: Laurie Zoloth

Keywords: climate change, women, feminist



"Climate change is a feminist issue. If paying attention to the lives and fate of women, concern about women’s bodies, or women’s reproductive rights, or women’s equal opportunities are central tenets of feminist ethics, then we must attend to the crisis that is climate change, which is beginning to throw these rights, bodies, and fates into chaos. In the impending environmental crisis, women and children will be the first to be harmed. All the freedoms we have obtained in the West—all the fine capacities for voice and leadership—will mean little if feminists stand by and watch the world warm, the seas rise, the climate change, the refugees struggle, and the world we share disappear. Unless we turn our scholarly attention (which is, after all, the only sort of public voice we have) toward this crisis, there will be a time when the last well is dry. And then it will be too late" (Zoloth 2017, 141). 

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Climate Displacement, Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Women

Year: 2017

Women and Climate Change - Impact and Agency in Human Rights, Security, and Economic Development


Alam, Mayesha, Rukmani Bhatia, and Briana Mawby. 2015. Women and Climate Change - Impact and Agency in Human Rights, Security, and Economic Development. Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security. doi:10.1163/9789004322714_cclc_2015-0019-008.

Authors: Mayesha Alam, Rukmani Bhatia, Briana Mawby


This report comes at an important time of international observance when new commitments to action will be made, coinciding not only with the fifteenth anniversaries of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325) and the adoption of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2000, but also in anticipation of the Conference of Parties (COP) 21 conference in Paris in late 2015. In an effort to remedy the dearth of existing literature on women and climate change, this report makes an important contribution by covering a wide variety of issues; highlighting both impact and agency; mapping examples of solutions that have proven to be successful; and holding relevance to policymakers, practitioners, scholars, and students. The findings of the report are based on and buttressed by a thorough examination of international conventions and protocols; national action plans; journal articles and other scholarly publications; reports by government and multilateral agencies; policy briefs and guidance notes, as well as civil society reports. The analysis is also informed by and draws upon a series of consultations with experts from around the world in research, advocacy, program design and implementation, and global leadership positions. As a result, the study represents an interdisciplinary endeavor with far-reaching practical applicability.

The report frames climate change as a universal human rights imperative, a global security threat, and a pervasive economic strain. Cataloguing the effects of climate change, the study examines the gendered dimensions of sea level rising and flooding; deforestation and ocean acidification; water scarcity; energy production and energy poverty; and climate-related displacement and migration. As part of this analysis, the report not only identifies how women are strained differentially and severely by the effects of climate change, but also how women have, continue to, and could serve as agents of mitigation and adaptation. For example, the section on water scarcity details how climate change causes droughts and soil erosion, which not only disenfranchises women farmers, who are the majority of the agricultural workforce in Africa and elsewhere, but also undermines hygiene and sanitation, affecting maternal health, women’s economic productivity, and girls’ education. Similarly, the section on energy identifies the gendered health, economic, and human security consequences of unmet energy needs of families that lack access to affordable and dependable energy sources. It also highlights the solutions that are working, such as the work of Grameen Shakti to provide clean, renewable energy to rural communities in Bangladesh, in doing so building a new cadre of women solar engineers and technicians.

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Climate Displacement, Education, Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Girls, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Health, Infrastructure, Energy, Water & Sanitation

Year: 2015

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

Climate Migration, Gender and Poverty


Borràs, Susana. 2019. “Climate Migration, Gender and Poverty.” In Research Handbook on Global Climate Constitutionalism, edited by Jordi Jaria-Manzano and Susana Borràs, 216–234. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing.

Author: Susana Borràs


This chapter explains that climate migration is a reality in which gender perspective is very important. It reveals both the vulnerabilities and strengths of women – whether in transit or in refugee camps; in their country of origin or at their ultimate destination. Women play a key role in the care, support and reconstruction of their communities. However, the political and legal failure to recognize climate change as a factor of added vulnerability, which is generating poverty and population movements, has increased gender inequality and injustice. This chapter argues the need to approach ‘gender climate migration’ realities from a gender justice and climate justice perspective.

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Climate Displacement, Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Justice

Year: 2019

Displacement, Climate Change and Gender


Hunter, Lori M., and Emmanuel David. 2011. “Displacement, Climate Change and Gender.” In Migration and Climate Change, edited by Etienne Piquet, Antoine Pécoud, and Paul de Guchteneire, 306-30. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Authors: Lori M. Hunter, Emmanuel David


“Discussions within public, policy and academic realms regarding climate change and migration are often gender neutral (WEDO, 2008). As a result, important differences in the migration experiences of women and men are neglected. Yet migration is a social process – actually, migration is a social process embedded within a variety of other social processes. More specifically, gender-influenced cultural expectations, policies, and institutions intersect to shape migration’s causes and consequences. In this way, migration is inherently gendered and climate change will, therefore, yield different migratory experiences and impacts for women and men. This chapter explores these potential gender dimensions” (Hunter & David 2011, 306).

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Climate Displacement, Migration, Environment, Climate Change, Gender

Year: 2011

A Literature Review of the Gender-Differentiated Impacts of Climate Change on Women’s and Men’s Assets and Well-Being in Developing Countries


Goh, Amelia H. X. 2012. “A Literature Review of the Gender-Differentiated Impacts of Climate Change on Women’s and Men’s Assets and Well-Being in Developing Countries.” CAPRi Working Paper 106, Washington, DC, International Food Policy Research Institute. 

Author: Amelia H. X. Goh


Climate change increasingly affects the livelihoods of people, and poor people experience especially negative impacts given their lack of capacity to prepare for and cope with the effects of a changing climate. Among poor people, women and men may experience these impacts differently. This review presents and tests two hypotheses on the gender-differentiated impacts of climate change on women and men in developing countries. The first hypothesis is that climate-related events affect men’s and women’s well-being and assets differently. The second hypothesis is that climate-related shocks affect women more negatively than men. With limited evidence from developing countries, this review shows that climate change affects women’s and men’s assets and well-being differently in six impact areas: (i) impacts related to agricultural production, (ii) food security, (iii) health, (iv) water and energy resources, (v) climate-induced migration and conflict, and (vi) climate-related natural disasters. In the literature reviewed, women seem to suffer more negative impacts of climate change in terms of their assets and well-being because of social and cultural norms regarding gender roles and their lack of access to and control of assets, although there are some exceptions. Empirical evidence in this area is limited, patchy, varied, and highly contextual in nature, which makes it difficult to draw strong conclusions. Findings here are indicative of the complexities in the field of gender and climate change, and signal that multidisciplinary research is needed to further enhance the knowledge base on the differential climate impacts on women’s and men’s assets and well-being in agricultural and rural settings, and to understand what mechanisms work best to help women and men in poor communities become more climate resilient.

Keywords: climate change, gender, assets, impacts, developing countries

Topics: Agriculture, Displacement & Migration, Climate Displacement, Economies, Poverty, Environment, Climate Change, Environmental Disasters, Gender, Gender Roles, Health, Infrastructure, Energy, Water & Sanitation, Livelihoods, Security, Food Security

Year: 2012

Impact of Flood-Induced Migration on Livelihood and Gender Relations: A Study on Chulmari, Kurigram


Chowdhury, Mahabub, and Marjina Masud. 2020. “Impact of Flood-Induced Migration on Livelihood and Gender Relations: A Study on Chulmari, Kurigram.” International Journal of Engineering Applied Sciences and Technology 5 (5): 1–7.

Authors: Mahabub Chowdhury, Marjina Masud


The aim of this study is to investigate the impact of flood induced migration on people’s livelihood and gender relations within households. Kurigram is the severely poverty affected and one of the most disaster prone districts of Bangladesh. Different studies show that people of this district face disasters like flood, river bank erosion, extreme cold and cyclones every year. Chilmari (a sub-district of Kurigram) is known as one of the most flood affected areas of the district. To escape the adverse impact of flood, people use to migrate both permanently and temporarily to nearby and far cities and towns in search of livelihood. Using qualitative research techniques including semi-structured interview, focus group discussion, informal group discussion, conversational exchange and case study method, this study revealed that people migrate permanently and temporarily to escape flood in search of alternative livelihood which has an impact on their livelihood such as a rise in income and alternative earning source during flood and gender relations such as changed role of men and women, women’s access to decision making and their mobility compare to the male counterparts as well. The findings of this study will help the policy makers, development experts and concerned stakeholders to understand the insights and act accordingly.

Keywords: flood, gender relations, livelihood, migration

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Climate Displacement, Migration, Environment, Environmental Disasters, Gender, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Households, Livelihoods Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Bangladesh

Year: 2020

Climate Refugees


Sen Roy, Shouraseni. 2018. “Climate Refugees.” In Linking Gender to Climate Change Impacts in the Global South, 93–115. Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing. 

Author: Shouraseni Sen Roy


“The impacts of climate change driving forced displacement of population from their homes can be classified under three main categories, which include extreme weather events (such as hurricanes, floods), sea level rise, and food insecurity resulting from severe and prolonged droughts (Fig. 5.1). Some of these impacts, particularly food has led to conflicts, such as observed in the case of Syria and Darfur, Sudan. In the majority of the cases, the forced displacement of population is internal within the national borders. However, in many cases it has led to the displacement and out migration of people across international borders. This has resulted in an unprecedented crisis in the receiving countries, which are not prepared to accommodate this influx of population. However, this displacement of vulnerable population from their familiar surroundings puts them at very high risk in terms of security, health, and exploitation. Therefore, the focus of this chapter will be on impact of climate change induced migration and displacement of population, and their impacts on women and girls through specific case studies and analyses of limited available empirical data” (Sen Roy 2018, 96).

Topics: Conflict, Displacement & Migration, Climate Displacement, Migration, Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Girls, Women, Security, Food Security

Year: 2018

The Smokescreen Effect: Rethinking the Gender Dimension of Climate, Migration and Security


Resurrección, Bernadette P., and Edsel E. Sajor. 2012. “The Smokescreen Effect: Rethinking the Gender Dimension of Climate, Migration and Security.” In Climate Change, Migration and Human Security in Southeast Asia, edited by Lorraine Elliott, 60-73. Singapore: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies.

Authors: Bernadette P. Resurrección, Edsel E. Sajor


“The starting point for this chapter, as with others in the volume, is that people may adapt to the negative effects of climate change by migrating. Their choice may be constrained, and at the same time influenced, by gender-related vulnerabilities embedded in norms and relations of power. Yet, one of the big silences in the discourse on the securitization of climate change-induced migration is the gender dimensions of such migration. At the same time, the rapidly growing literature on gender and climate change has largely ignored migration issues. It appears that scholars who work on issues related to gender and the environment do not also work on gender and migration issues. In general terms, gender-blind research neglects the fundamental ways in which climate change-induced migration and its impacts will differ for women and men. The focus of this chapter then is to shed light on the complex workings of gender in climate change-induced migration. It takes the view that there is much to learn from the literature on gender and disaster, where displacement and resettlement figure as responses to hazards and extreme events. First, the chapter argues that there should be more sustained focus on the gender-related vulnerabilities that may influence and constrain migration as an adaptation option. These vulnerabilities may lead to adverse ways and outcomes of migration, with attendant implications for the human security of women migrants. Second, it is emphasised that vulnerability is not intrinsic to, nor does it derive from, any one factor such as “being a woman” or “being a migrant”. Instead, some groups and persons are more vulnerable than others because of the specific configuration of practices, processes and power relations embedded in particular societies. Finally, the chapter signposts possible pathways for enhancing people’s human security by addressing gender-related vulnerabilities when migration is employed as an option for climate change adaptation” (Resurreccion & Edsel 2012, 60-1).

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Climate Displacement, Migration, Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Security, Human Security

Year: 2012


© 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

Subscribe to RSS - Climate Displacement