Most climate change literature tends to downplay the gendered nature of vulnerability. At best, gender is discussed in terms of the male-female binary, seen as opposing forces rather than in varying relations of interdependency. Such construction can result in the adoption of maladaptive culturally unfit gender-blind policy and interventions. In Egypt, which is highly vulnerable to climate change, gender analysis of vulnerability is almost non-existent. This paper addresses this important research gap by asking and drawing on a rural Egyptian context ‘How do the gendered relational aspects of men’s and women’s livelihoods in the household and community influence vulnerability to climate change?’. To answer this question, I draw on gender analysis of social relations, framed within an understanding of sustainable livelihoods. During 16 months of fieldwork, I used multiple ethnographic methods to collect data from two culturally and ethnically diverse low-income villages in Egypt. My main argument is that experiences of climate change are closely intertwined with gender and wider social relations in the household and community. These are shaped by local gendered ideologies and cultures that are embedded in conjugal relations, kinship and relationship to the environment, as compared across the two villages. In this paper, I strongly argue that vulnerability to climate change is highly gendered and therefore gender analysis should be at the heart of climate change discourses, policy and interventions.
- Climate change