Although rural women and men especially play a key complementary role in guaranteeing food security, women tend to play a greater role in natural resource management and ensuring nutrition. Following the different experiences of men and women regarding climate change, it has been argued that ‘gender transformation is both an important condition and a potential end goal of effective climate change responses and poverty reduction’. Women often grow, process, manage and market food and other natural resources, and are responsible for raising small livestock, managing vegetable gardens and collecting fuel and water. Women’s involvement in an agricultural capacity is most common in regions likely to be most adversely affected by the impacts of climate change, particularly Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Customary laws and practices in especially in Sub-Saharan Africa often restrict women’s property and land rights and make it difficult for them to access credit and agricultural extension services, which further reduces their incentive to engage in environmentally sustainable farming practices.
In these contexts, the ultimate responsibility for adaptation most likely falls on their shoulders, including finding alternative ways to feed the family. Women in particular are often known to be involved in traditional work that involves limited release of greenhouse gases or that captures emissions that have been released, such as reforestation and conservation of other natural resources. Women’s agency to adapt to climate change is thus still relatively unexplored and untapped.
In this session of the Youth Adaptation Dialogue, together with UNFPA, the dialogue will explore the following questions: