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Water & Sanitation

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

Citation:

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

Annotation:

Summary:
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

Caregivers at the Frontline of Addressing the Climate Crisis

Citation:

Butt, Myrah Nerine, Saleha Kamal Shah, and Fareeha Ali Yahya. 2020. “Caregivers at the Frontline of Addressing the Climate Crisis.” Gender & Development 28 (3): 479–98.

Authors: Myrah Nerine Butt, Saleha Kamal Shah, Fareeha Ali Yahya

Abstract:

ENGLISH ABSTRACT:
This article draws on Oxfam’s work in Pakistan. It explores the burdens of addressing the climate crisis on the unpaid labour of poverty-stricken women in Badin, Pakistan. A case study methodology has been used to highlight the experiences of four women farmers in Badin and understand the impact of climate change on their care workload. Seawater intrusion and rising temperatures are key stressors leading to acute shortages of water. This is increasing women’s time spent on key care activities like fodder and water collection, and livestock rearing. A severe negative impact has been observed on the drudgery of care work and, in turn, on the health and well-being of the women. In a context where prevalent gender inequality and social norms lead to unequal life chances for women, it has been observed that due to climate change, women have to travel further, work harder, and assume more care responsibilities. It has also been observed that care is primarily seen as a feminine task with residual care responsibilities falling on the shoulders of other women in the household, particularly girls, crippling their life chances. Despite all these challenges, women are organising and raising their voices on key issues around climate change. The article recommends that the four ‘Rs’ framework – recognise, reduce, redistribute, and represent –  developed by feminist economists and care experts, be integrated across mainstream climate policy and programmes to help women in poverty improve their well-being and exercise their social, economic, and political rights.

 

FRENCH ABSTRACT:
Cet article s’inspire des travaux menés par Oxfam au Pakistan. Il se penche sur le fardeau représenté par les efforts de la lutte contre la crise climatique sur le travail non rémunéré des femmes pauvres de Badin, au Pakistan. Une méthodologie d’étude de cas a été employée pour mettre en relief les expériences de quatre agricultrices de Badin et pour comprendre l’impact du changement climatique sur leur charge de travail liée aux soins. L’intrusion de l’eau de mer et la hausse des températures sont des facteurs de stress clés qui entraînent des pénuries aiguës d’eau. Cela a pour effet d’accroître le temps consacré par les femmes aux activités de soins comme la collecte de fourrage et d’eau, et l’élevage. Un grave impact négatif a été observé en ce qui concerne la pénibilité des activités de soins et, en conséquence, sur la santé et le bien-être des femmes. Dans un contexte où les inégalités existantes entre les sexes et les normes sociales donnent lieu à des chances de réussite inégales pour les femmes, on a observé qu’en raison du changement climatique, les femmes doivent parcourir de plus longues distances, travailler davantage et assumer plus de responsabilités de soins. On a également observé que les soins sont principalement perçus comme une tâche féminine et que les responsabilités résiduelles de soins reposent sur les épaules des autres femmes du foyer, en particulier les filles, ce qui compromet leurs perspectives de réussite. Malgré ces défis, les femmes s’organisent et se font entendre sur des questions clés relatives au changement climatique. Cet article recommande que le cadre des quatre « R » — reconnaître, réduire, redistribuer et représenter — mis au point par les économistes et les experts féministes en matière de soins, soit intégré dans tous les programmes et politiques généraux en matière de climat pour aider les femmes pauvres à améliorer leur bien-être et à faire valoir leurs droits sociaux, économiques et politiques.

 

SPANISH ABSTRACT:
Partiendo del trabajo realizado por Oxfam en Pakistán, el presente artículo examina la carga que supone para el trabajo no remunerado de las mujeres afectadas por la pobreza en Badin, Pakistán, abordar la crisis climática. Con este propósito se utilizó una metodología de estudio de casos para poner de relieve las experiencias de cuatro agricultoras de Badin, a fin de comprender el impacto del cambio climático en su carga de trabajo vinculada al cuidado. Tanto la filtración de agua de mar como la elevación de temperatura constituyen factores estresantes fundamentales que provocan una grave escasez de agua. Esto determina que las mujeres deban aumentar el tiempo que dedican a actividades clave de cuidado, como la recolección de forraje y agua, y la cría de ganado. Ello ha ocasionado un grave impacto negativo, tanto en el trabajo de cuidado como en la salud y el bienestar de las mujeres. En un contexto en que la desigualdad de género y las normas sociales predominantes dan lugar a desiguales oportunidades en la vida para las mujeres, se ha observado que, debido al cambio climático, las mujeres tienen que viajar más lejos, trabajar más duro y asumir más responsabilidades de cuidado. Además, se ha constatado que el cuidado es considerado sobre todo como una tarea de mujeres y que las responsabilidades residuales del cuidado recaen sobre los hombros de otras mujeres del hogar, en particular las niñas, lo que limita sus oportunidades en la vida. A pesar de todos estos desafíos, las mujeres se están organizando y alzando su voz en cuestiones clave relativas al cambio climático. El artículo recomienda que el marco de las cuatro “R” —reconocer, reducir, redistribuir y representar— desarrollado por economistas feministas y expertos en cuidados, se integre a la política y los programas climáticos principales para ayudar a las mujeres marginadas a mejorar su bienestar y ejercer sus derechos sociales, económicos y políticos.

Keywords: climate, care work, agriculture, Pakistan, water, WE-Care

Topics: Economies, Care Economies, Poverty, Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Girls, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Pakistan

Year: 2020

The Politics of Feminist Translation in Water Management

Citation:

Resurrección, Bernadette P., and Rebecca Elmhirst. 2020. “The Politics of Feminist Translation in Water Management.” In Negotiating Gender Expertise in Environment and Development, 99–114. London: Routledge.
 

Authors: Bernadette P. Resurrección, Rebecca Elmhirst

Abstract:

Feminist encounters with technical water professionals such as, for example, engineers, modelers and bureaucrats bring into view fundamental questions and differences in approaching and understanding the use and management of water. Women engineers, for their part, may not be taken seriously by their male peers. According to Liebrand & Udas, for them to succeed and belong, they have to reconcile the performances of being a ‘lady engineer’ with that of a ‘normal’ masculinised engineer, which may be asking for the irreconcilable. This brings to fore how feminist politics in water contexts also involves becoming aware of, navigating and contesting prevailing identity boundaries. The gender experts in water development projects often lack the political clout to change the terms of dialogue with their technical colleagues, as their work is often considered marginal to the main task of achieving water productivity. (Abstract from Taylor & Francis Group)

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Gendered Discourses, Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation

Year: 2020

Occupational Genders and Gendered Occupations: The Case of Water Provisioning in Maputo, Mozambique

Citation:

Alda-Vidal, Cecilia, Maria Rusca, Margreet Zwarteveen, Klaas Schwartz, and Nicky Pouw. 2017. “Occupational Genders and Gendered Occupations: The Case of Water Provisioning in Maputo, Mozambique.” Gender, Place & Culture 24 (7): 974–90.

Authors: Cecilia Alda-Vidal, Maria Rusca, Margreet Zwarteveen, Klaas Schwartz, Nicky Pouw

Abstract:

Taking issue with how associations between technical prowess or entrepreneurship and masculinity tend to be taken for granted or are seen as stemming from natural or intrinsic gender differences, over the last two decades feminist scholars have developed theoretical approaches to understand the gendering of professions and abilities as the performative outcome of particular cultures and histories. We build on these insights to explore how associations between masculinities, technology and entrepreneurship shape ideas and practices of small-scale water provision in Maputo. Our findings show how activities (i.e. technical craftsmanship, hard physical work) or abilities (i.e. risktaking, innovativeness) regarded as masculine tend to be considered the defining features of the profession. This shapes how men and women make sense of and talk about their work, each of them tactically emphasizing and performing those aspects best fitting their gender. Our detailed documentation of men’s and women’s everyday involvements in water provisioning challenges the existence of sharp boundaries and distinctions between genders and professional responsibilities. It shows that water provisioning requires many other types of work and skills and male and female household members collaborate and share their work. The strong normative-cultural associations between gender and water provisioning lead to a distinct underrecognition of women’s importance as water providers. We conclude that strategies to effectively support small-scale water businesses while creating more space and power for women involved in the business require the explicit recognition and re-conceptualization of water provisioning as a household business.

Keywords: technology, entrepreneurship, small scale water providers (SSIP), urban water supply, Maputo, occupational masculinities and femininities

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Gender Roles, Gendered Discourses, Households, Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Mozambique

Year: 2017

Emotional Political Ecology

Citation:

Sultana, Farhana. 2017. “Emotional Political Ecology.” In The International Handbook of Political Ecology, edited by Raymond L. Bryant, 633-645. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publsihing

 

Author: Farhana Sultana

Annotation:

Summary:
This chapter develops an emotional political ecology approach by integrating scholarship in feminist political ecology, resources management and emotional geographies. Emotions matter in resource struggles. They influence outcomes of practices and processes of resource access, use and control while shaping how resources-related interactions are actually experienced in everyday lives. I demonstrate the importance of heeding the various emotions and meanings attached to resource access, use and conflict in order to better elucidate the emotionality thereby engaged in everyday struggles. Through a case study of a water crisis, the chapter draws attention to the emotional geographies of water that are important in explaining the ways that feeling subjects relate to water and how water mediates broader social relations. Conflicts over resources are thus as much about embodied emotions, feelings and lived experiences as they are about property rights and entitlements, long the focus in political ecology. Not only does such an approach lead to greater nuance in understanding resources struggles and politics; it also rejects the idea that ‘real’ scholarship is about ‘rational’ social interactions over resources that leaves emotive realities about how resources are accessed, used and fought over firmly to one side. Indeed, (feminist) political ecology will be immeasurably strengthened when often abstract articulations of ‘resource struggles’ and ‘resource conflicts’ are grounded in embodied emotional geographies of places, peoples and resources, enabling enhanced comprehension of how resources and emotions intermingle in everyday resource management practices. I believe that more comprehensive and productive analyses are possible that can greatly expand current debates to better explain why and how specific nature–society relations play out the way they do. An emotional political ecology approach thus elucidates how emotions matter in nature–society relations, and can thus greatly enhance future political ecology scholarship. (Summary from ElgarOnline)

Topics: Conflict, Resource Conflict, Feminisms, Feminist Political Ecology, Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation

Year: 2017

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

Citation:

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

Abstract:

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

Investigating Community Constructed Rural Water Systems in Northwest Cameroon: Leadership, Gender and Exclusion

Citation:

Tantoh, Henry, and Tracey Mckay. 2020. "Investigating Community Constructed Rural Water Systems in Northwest Cameroon: Leadership, Gender and Exclusion." International Development Planning Review 42 (4): 455-78.

Authors: Henry Tantoh, Tracey Mckay

Abstract:

Many rural communities in sub-Saharan Africa have a long history of community cooperation and local-led development projects harnessed to improve the delivery of water services. This study examined issues of local leadership across various community-built rural water supply (CBRWS) in the Mbengwi, Njinikom and Ndu districts of Northwest Cameroon. The study found that where there was an absence of public water supplies, coupled with high levels of rural poverty, CBRWS projects were able to ensure a water supply lifeline. These projects were effective in communities where local leadership structures were strong, due to their ability to ensure high levels of community participation. Such communities experienced improved welfare and enhanced quality of life. Thus, involving community members in issues concerning their own development, coupled with good local-level leadership are crucial aspects of successful rural development projects. The study also found that, in all cases, local leadership was patriarchal and exclusionary. Labour, cash and in-kind support were donated by the residents but women and youths did not have a voice to participate in decisions relating to the community projects conferred upon them. Thus, community participation in these projects cannot be equated with promoting grassroots or participatory democracy. Rather it reinforced traditional hegemonies.

Topics: Age, Youth, Agriculture, Civil Society, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation Regions: Africa, Central Africa Countries: Cameroon

Year: 2020

Urbanization, Climate Linked Water Vulnerability as Impediments to Gender Equality: A Case Study of Delhi, India

Citation:

Kher, Jagriti, Savita Aggarwal, Geeta Punhani, and Sakshi Saini. "Urbanization, Climate Linked Water Vulnerability as Impediments to Gender Equality: A Case Study of Delhi, India." In Handbook of Climate Change Resilience, edited by Walter Leal Filho, 2097-124. Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing.

Authors: Jagriti Kher, Savita Aggarwal, Geeta Punhani, Sakshi Saini

Abstract:

Poor urban and rural women bear the brunt of climate change as the dwindling availability of water and other natural resources makes their lives full of drudgery. They trudge longer distances and head load water for the family and struggle with poor water quality and unsafe sanitation. Climatic changes and the non-climatic drivers such as rapid urbanization and high rate of population growth will further confound the scenario and make the lives of poor women harder.

The present study has been conducted to assess the vulnerability of poor women residing in slums of Delhi, the capital city of India, to water- and climate-linked stresses using quantitative and qualitative approaches. An index called CVI-WH was used to quantify vulnerability of the slum women; the qualitative study was done using various participatory approaches. The study has shown very high vulnerability of the slum women to climate-linked water stresses as reflected by high CVI-WH values ranging between 0.62 and 0.67 across different regions.

Therefore, if the quality of life of poor women has to be improved, it is extremely important to enhance the adaptive capacity of women to face climatic stresses and to invest in water- and sanitation-related infrastructure.

Topics: Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Women, Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: India

Year: 2020

Gender Analysis Approach to Analyzing Gender Differentiated Impacts of Coping Strategies to Climate Change

Citation:

Kher, Jagriti, and Savita Aggarwal. 2020. "Gender Analysis Approach to Analyzing Gender Differentiated Impacts of Coping Strategies to Climate Change." In Handbook of Climate Change Resilience, edited by Walter Leal Filho, 2097-124. Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing.

Authors: Jagriti Kher, Savita Aggarwal

Abstract:

Provision of safe water and fuel for the household is important Practical Gender Needs (PGNs) of women, which in turn are crucial to enable them to meet their Strategic Gender Needs (SGNs) of education, income, and control over resources. Climatic change and extremes coupled with demographic, socioeconomic, and technological changes enhance the scarcity of natural resources and negatively impact poor women much more as they cope by trudging longer distances to procure prime resources for the household. The present study examines the gender-differentiated impact of coping strategies to climate change using secondary data from published research conducted across developing countries using Moser’s gender analysis framework. The study has shown that most of the coping strategies practiced by families had much greater negative impacts on women and children as compared to males. The study also highlighted that gender analysis framework is a useful methodology to assess the impact of climatic stresses and extremes on men and women. If the Sustainable Development Goals of eradicating poverty, achieving good health, and access to quality education, safe water, and sanitation facilities and above all gender equality have to be met, it is very important to invest in basic infrastructure to provide for the Practical Gender Needs of women. Besides improving their quality of life, such investments will enable women to focus on their Strategic Gender Needs and also enhance their adaptive capacity to lead climate resilient lives.

Topics: Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Gender Analysis, Women, Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Year: 2020

‘We Are Free When Water Is Available’: Gendered Livelihood Implications of Sporadic Water Supply in Northern Ghana

Citation:

Jeil, Emmanuel Bintaayi, Kabila Abass, and John Kuumuori Ganle. 2020. “‘We Are Free When Water Is Available’: Gendered Livelihood Implications of Sporadic Water Supply in Northern Ghana.” Local Environment 25 (4): 320-35.

Authors: Emmanuel Bintaayi Jeil, Kabila Abass, John Kuumuori Ganle

Abstract:

Water shortages may present different and diverse implications for gender subgroups particularly in low-income settings. Yet, little research has documented the gendered livelihood implications of water shortages in Ghana. Based on a cross-sectional mixed method research involving a survey of 250 household heads and complemented with a qualitative study of 86 participants, the paper examines the differential effects of sporadic water supply in Tatale-Sanguli District of Northern Ghana. Our findings suggest that the livelihood effects of sporadic water supply in Tatale-Sanguli area are gendered, with females being disproportionately affected as compared to males. These differential effects are often framed by both gender role differentiation and inequities in access to vital productive resources and critical assets such as bicycles, tricycles and motor bikes. These findings highlight not only the need for local government and non-governmental organisations to step up efforts in water provision, but also to recognise the gendered effects of water shortages in Tatale-Sanguli District. Key to policy is also to ensure that programmatic interventions during water shortages take account of the likely gendered effects and differentiated burdens.

Keywords: gender, livelihood, water supply, Northern Ghana, sporadic

Topics: Gender, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation, Livelihoods Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Ghana

Year: 2020

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