How does gendered vulnerability shape the adoption and impact of sustainable livelihood interventions in an era of global climate change?

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Jul 31, 2019
Author: 
Maia Call and Samuel Sellers

 

Abstract

Though many studies have long considered the broad social implications of climate change, researchers have only recently started to consider the gendered unevenness of the global landscape of vulnerability, exposure, and adaptive capacity to environmental stressors and shocks. Historically, policies and interventions addressing natural resource-based livelihoods have rarely considered underlying gender dynamics despite the global pervasiveness of gendered disparities in both economic opportunities and welfare outcomes. Methods/Design. Using two electronic databases, Web of Science and Scopus, we conducted a systematic review of peer-reviewed academic literature describing livelihoods policies or interventions that included documentation of gendered impacts. We focused on natural resource-based livelihoods most likely to be affected by climate change, centering on interventions targeting agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture, and forestry. Review Results/Synthesis. We identified 131 relevant articles, most of which focus on adoption or participation in interventions rather than outcomes. In general, women are less likely than men to engage with sustainable livelihoods interventions. When women do engage, some researchers have documented income and food security gains as well as improvements in environmental indicators in the short-term. However, these initiatives have also been found to increase women's labor burden without corresponding gains in income. Few studies measure longer-term effects of women's engagement on welfare and environmental outcomes, a key gap in the literature. Additionally, relatively few studies explore the intersectional impacts of initiatives, such as the added burdens of ethnicity, class, education, or other differences that modify gender disparities. Discussion. Climate change has gendered impacts on natural resource-based livelihoods. In general, existing initiatives designed to increase livelihood resilience fail to reduce gender disparities and improve women's livelihoods. Greater attention should be paid to gender when designing sustainable livelihoods policies and interventions in order to increase adoption and participation, negotiate trade-offs, improve environmental conditions, and promote broadly beneficial welfare outcomes.

Read the article in Environmental Research Letters.

Associated SESYNC Researcher(s): 
DOI for citing: 
https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/ab2f57
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