A qualitative comparative analysis of women’s agency and adaptive capacity in climate change hotspots in Asia and Africa

Nitya Rao, Arabinda Mishra, Anjal Prakash, Chandni Singh, Ayesha Qaisrani, Prathigna Poonacha, Katharine Vincent, Claire Bedelian

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There is growing concern about sustainable and equitable adaptation in climate change hotspots, commonly understood as locations that concentrate high climatic variability, societal vulnerability, and negative impacts on livelihood systems. Emphasizing gender within these debates highlights how demographic, socio-economic and agro-ecological contexts mediate the experiences and outcomes of climate change. Drawing on data from 25 qualitative case studies across three hotspots in Africa and Asia, analysed using Qualitative Comparative Analysis, we show how and in what ways women’s agency, or the ability to make meaningful choices and strategic decisions, contributes to adaptation responses. We find that environmental stress is a key depressor of women’s agency even when household structures and social norms are supportive, or legal entitlements available. These findings have implications for the effective implementation of multilateral agreements such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction, and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)964–971
Number of pages18
JournalNature Climate Change
Early online date25 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019

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