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New knowledge on the gendered nature of poverty and wellbeing

26 May 2017 11:52:49 GMT

A gendered understanding of poverty is crucial for exploring its differing impacts. Women, in particular, may be vulnerable to the effects of poverty and the causes of women’s poverty, and how poverty is experienced, may differ from men. Neither women nor men, however, are a homogenous group and how poverty is experienced depends on other intersecting issues such as age, class, ethnicity, disability etc. Issues which poverty alleviation research also needs to take into account in order to get a more nuanced picture of people’s lived experiences to help shape policy responses that are relevant and appropriate.

Since 2005, the ESRC-DFID Joint Fund for Poverty Alleviation Research has commissioned high quality social science research addressing the international development goal of reducing poverty amongst the poorest in the world. Evidence from this research has improved understandings of the gendered nature of poverty and how differing identities impact people’s lived experiences of poverty. In particular the research has provided valuable insights in a number of key areas:

  • On social norms – the unwritten rules of societies – and how these impede or dictate women’s mobility and employment access. Studies also point, however, to how gender relations are complex and shifting in the face of new crises.
  • Challenging the assumption that gender equitable access to higher education is enough in the process of women’s empowerment.
  • The impacts of disease and ill-health on men and women and what hinders their access to services.
  • Differing experiences of poverty and well-being, in particular introducing the important, but often overlooked, concepts of shame and dignity.

The evidence report provides an assessment of 122 research grants awarded by the ESRC-DFID Joint Fund for Poverty Alleviation Research covering research in Central Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, South Asia, South East Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. 

Explaining low employment rates among older women in urban China

11 May 2017 11:21:45 GMT

In China, the employment rate among middle-aged and older urban residents is exceptionally low. For example, 27% of 55-64-year-old urban women were in work in 2013, compared to more than 50% in UK, Thailand and Philippines.

This paper investigates potential explanations of this low level of employment in urban China. The author documents the stylised fact that a majority of individuals stop working as soon as they qualify for a public pension, which most often happens at age 50 for women. The paper also highlights the presence of significant amounts of financial and time transfers between generations. The paper offer descriptive evidence that transfers from children are responsive to parental incomes, and that mother’s labour supply is affected by the expectation of transfers from her children. The authors builds and   and calibrates a life-cycle model of labour supply and saving. The paper concludes that both the pension system and transfers from children have large effects on female labour supply. Increasing the female pension age from the status-quo to 60 would raise the employment rate of 50-59 year old women by 28 percentage points.

Transitions in late-life living arrangements and socio-economic conditions of the elderly in Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia

05 May 2017 03:49:24 GMT

Middle East and North Africa’s demographic trends reveal together a growing ageing population and an exceptional growth of the youth population. Increasing elderly population leads to significant consequences for the cost and organisation of health systems. The rise in life expectancy has changed the arrangement of multigenerational families; relationships in ageing families have become more unstable and less predictable.
This paper investigates - in a gender and geographic perspective – differences in the socio-economic situation of the elderly and the determinants of late-life living arrangements in Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia starting from Labor Market Panel Surveys. Results are in line with both the different countries’ stages of the demographic transition and welfare state coverages. The family continues to be the basis for support to older people, as in general in the Arab area. A relevant socio-political group, calling for policy interventions, is represented by the elderly living alone.

Gendered practices of remittances in Bangladesh: a poststructuralist perspective

04 Apr 2017 12:30:46 GMT

Bangladesh belongs to the top-ten remittance-receiving countries of the world with a yearly earning of US$15 billion. Comprising around ninety percent of the Bangladeshi overseas labour flow, men leave behind their spouses and children due to the high cost of migration and laws within the destination country. Compared to their men, few women migrate independently, since female migration involves unsettling the patriarchal gender order which sees men as main providers and women as carers of the household and also considers women to be insecure and unprotected abroad. In both the cases of male and female migration, however, stay put men and women come to have an important function in remittance management, but not necessarily in the same way. It is in this context that this working paper explores the relationships between remittances and men and women’s diverse, complex and, in some ways, conflicting identities in Bangladeshi households that depend on overseas earnings.

Building on the post-structuralist theorisation of gender as 'doing' or 'performativity', this paper analyses remittances' influence on the type of work, ideas and norms deemed suitable by males and females within migrant households and the organisation of gendered responsibilities within families. In doing so, the paper undertakes a systematic study of men and women's different roles, responsibility and access to and control over resources recognising the complex nature of intra-household relations. The underlying assumption is that gender is a fluid category which is to be examined beyond the status and power of the sexes.

The paper examines several situations to understand the role of remittance practices in shaping of fragmented, discontinuous and multiple gender roles and subjectivities. These are: a) men's remitting in a nuclear household, b) women's remitting in a nuclear household, c) the remittance practices of unmarried men and women from joint families and, d) the uses of remittances across different types of households.

The study reveals that when men migrate as the main provider of the family, the migrant and his wife become the long-distance provider and de-factor manager respectively. In contrast, female remitters, despite being the main earner, cannot perform as a complete provider, as their husbands retain control over their remittances and also because of the complexities arises as men fail to perform their expected roles. Again, the gender role and position of unmarried female remitters - whose primary allegiance lies with the natal home - are mainly shaped by their economic contribution to the household coffers, whereas unmarried male remitters’ subjectivity is influenced by the patriarchal norms of generational hierarchy. Investment and the use of remittances for girls' marriage and boys' employment at home and abroad have specific gendered implications, as shown in the paper, since it helps to maintain and reproduce the dominant gender ideologies of men as providers and women as carers of their household.

Public value perspective for gender budgeting: evidence from Egypt

31 Mar 2017 04:32:16 GMT

Budgeting for the provision of public service for women has gained a lot of interest all over the world. Developing countries have been part of this global trend. Studies on growth found that gender inequality deprives developing countries from boosting growth. However, in many cases services for women failed to meet expectations.
Inadequacy of budget resources comes at the top to justify this failure. However, weakness in budgetary and political institutions may add other dimensions. Weakness of planning and implementing the budget, and reporting its results is a critical factor for failure in delivering public values that satisfy the society’s developmental aspiration. Additionally, the weakness of political institutions to reconcile conflicting individual values and voice up the collective citizens’ preferences may also be another source of failure to produce gender services as it should be. Moreover, failu re to deliver may signal to the political inability to utilise public assets in the proper mix, timing, and networking. Whatsoever the combination of weak institutions, it alerts to a failure of operationalisation of public values  to produce public services beyond the issue of adequacy of public resources.

This article aims to discuss gender budgeting, beyond the adequacy challenge, through a conceptual framework that recognises weakness of budgetary and political institutions. We argue that while gender values may be strongly placed in the ethics of the society, nevertheless they often lack an informed governance framework to position them properly in the utilitarian set of objectives of the budgetary system. Gender issues are perceived from the perspective of the rights approach to budgeting; however, they are not situated in the growth and sustainability framework of the budget.

Young women and work in Nigeria: how young women, including those with disabilities, can be supported to find employment and earn an income

23 Mar 2017 04:01:10 GMT

While the current Nigerian government’s commitment to youth employment is evident in the investments being made  through these youth employment and empowerment programmes, this study provides further evidence that such schemes lack a gender analysis  and responsiveness, which combined with  other issues, affect such programmes’ transparency, operational effectiveness, politicisation  and  impact.

While young women appreciate and are benefiting from some of the higher quality programmes, there is limited evidence of impact and sustainable increases in employment and income  earning. In particular, youth employment and empowerment programmes often suffer from poor design, targeting, implementation and monitoring.  

This report presents findings from a qualitative study commission by the Nigeria Stability and Reconciliation Programme  (NSRP), exploring the extent to which government youth employment and empowerment programmes are targeting, reaching and working for young women, with a particular focus on the most prominent federal level programmes including the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P); Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria Programme (YouWIN!); Youth Employment and Social Support  Operation (YESSO); Vocational Skills Development (VSD); and Growing Girls and Women in Nigeria (G-WIN).  

The study focuses on the experiences of young women, including those with physical disabilities, in rural and semi-urban areas in three of NSRP’s target states:  Kaduna (Middle  Belt), Kano (North-west) and Rivers States (South-South).

Lessons from Rwanda: female political representation and women’s rights

16 Mar 2017 03:50:33 GMT

Gender equality is a basic human right that entails equal opportunities for men and women in all facets of life: socially, economically, developmentally and politically. According to the Beijing Platform for Action, without the active participation of women in and the incorporation of their perspectives at all levels of decision-making, the goals of equality, development and peace cannot be achieved.
This paper sets out to examine the increased female representation in Rwanda’s Parliament to determine whether it has affected women in other spheres of life. It also provides an overview of the current status of women in African politics, as well as of the current governance situation in Rwanda.
It is clear that Rwanda has made significant efforts to elevate the status of women in its post-genocide society. However, it is also important to recognise Parliament’s limitations in an increasingly authoritarian system of governance. While women members of Parliament have passed legislation to empower women in society, a lack of information and education prevents many from taking advantage of new opportunities. Yet Rwanda is clearly on the right path towards improving its gender parity and must uphold its efforts to do so, while prioritising formal education for girls and women at all levels.

Making tax work for women’s rights

03 Mar 2017 12:55:27 GMT

Tax and women’s rights are entwined. How tax is spent and raised matters more for women than men. And there is lots of potential for tax to bring about positive change in women’s lives – at the moment, developing countries give away massive unnecessary corporate tax breaks while services that women need struggle for funding, while at the same time tax could be raised more progressively.

Shifting power: learning from women’s experiences and approaches to reducing inequality

03 Mar 2017 12:51:56 GMT

Shifting Power is based on focus group discussions and interviews in communities in seven developing and emerging economy countries where ActionAid is active: Brazil, Haiti, Liberia, Nepal, Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda. Groups of women were asked how they experience inequality and, most importantly, how they are addressing inequality. The report finds that across the countries, when women take collective action on the many challenges facing them, they feel better equipped to address inequalities within their families and communities. This process is often accelerated for women whose first meetings are around income generating activities, while women who are economically autonomous tend to be more involved in organising.

Digital financial solutions to advance women’s economic participation: How governments, private sector and development organizations can bring more women into the global economy through digital financial services

03 Mar 2017 12:48:07 GMT

This report outlines the role of digital financial services in improving women’s economic participation, the challenges of increasing women’s access to digital financial services, and the opportunities governments and other sectors have to foster an inclusive global economy in which digital financial services are widely available to everyone, especially women.

Resilient markets: strengthening women’s economic empowerment and market systems in fragile settings

03 Mar 2017 12:44:36 GMT

Women’s economic empowerment in fragile contexts is vital to building the coping strategy of individuals, markets and other market actors to manage crisis and risk. However, to best support women to survive and thrive through crisis, interventions have to target the whole market system, and the roles and relationships within each contextual market system, before and during crises, in order to smooth the transition to longer-term recovery.

How inclusive is inclusive business for women? Examples from Asia and Latin America

03 Mar 2017 12:08:25 GMT

This report takes stock of 104 inclusive business investments active in 2015 supported by th Asian Development Bank (ADB), Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the International Finance Corperation (IFC), and examines 13 of these companies, in depth, on how they contribute to women’s economic empowerment. It shows that there are only a few inclusive business models that explicitly promote gender empowerment. And while there are many social enterprise initiatives and corporate social responsibility activities promoting gender-related issues, these projects remain small in scale and impact. The report also highlights that addressing gender-based constraints yields business benefits, and effective outcomes demand concerted action.

Women’s economic empowerment: navigating enablers and constraints

03 Mar 2017 11:59:54 GMT

Ten factors that can enable or constrain women’s economic empowerment are identified. In addressing these factors, the development of broad-based coalitions for change at all levels is essential, while scaling up financial resources across relevant sectors is also significant. Only two per cent of official development assistance to the economic and productive sectors was principally focused on gender equality in 2013-2014 (OECD 2016). Achieving women’s economic empowerment also involves challenging established norms, structures, and sites of power, while investments in monitoring how women’s lives are changing is essential for identifying progress.

Infrastructure: a game-changer for women’s economic empowerment

03 Mar 2017 11:54:28 GMT

Improved infrastructure can help women reduce the time women spend on domestic tasks, while enhancing their physical mobility. In addition, the construction of new transport, ICT and energy facilities yields new opportunities for labour market participation. With improved productivity and access to customers and suppliers for existing enterprises, investments in infrastructure can increase and stabilise workers’ earnings, while also reducing exposure to risks.

Financial inclusion and women’s economic empowerment

03 Mar 2017 11:18:33 GMT

The briefing notes that women are less likely than men to access and use formal financial services, while their financial inclusion is weakened by poverty, discriminatory laws, and technology gaps.

Leave no one behind: A call to action for gender equality and women’s economic empowerment

03 Mar 2017 11:02:24 GMT

Expanding women’s economic opportunities is central to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The pace of improvement in expanding women’s economic empowerment and closing gender gaps has been far too slow, while gender inequalities in other critical areas including political representation and protection against violence, are persistent and pervasive. Four overarching systemic constraints to the economic empowerment of women are identified: adverse social norms; discriminatory laws and lack of legal protection; the failure to recognize, reduce and redistribute unpaid household work and care; and a lack of access to financial, digital and property assets.

Women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work: Report of the Secretary-General

03 Mar 2017 10:34:08 GMT

This report presents recommendations for consideration at the Commission on the Status of Women 61 (CSW61), 13-24 March 2017,  examining women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work, in light of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

It examines interlinkages between women’s economic empowerment and their rights to decent work and full and productive employment; the obstacles women face in exercising their rights to and at work; and opportunities and challenges for women’s economic empowerment amidst the increasing informality and mobility of labour and technological and digital developments.

‘Who Cares’: Reflections on the international level advocacy work of the unpaid care work programme (2012–2015)

03 Mar 2017 01:11:03 GMT

This Evidence Report outlines the global-level advocacy work undertaken by the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) and our partner, ActionAid International, over the course of a four-year programme to make care visible. Following on from this introduction, Section 1 explores the concept of unpaid care work and how it is linked to the economic empowerment of women and girls, with Section 2 looking at the strategies we have adopted to make care visible at the international level. Section 3 then looks at the successes and challenges, as well as key lessons learnt, while Section 4 discusses future directions for the Unpaid Care Work programme at global levels.

Connecting perspectives on women’s empowerment

03 Mar 2017 01:00:22 GMT

With the formulation of the first ever internationally agreed stand-alone goal on gender equality, debates around women’s empowerment are at a critical juncture. This IDS Bulletin makes a timely contribution to our understanding of how ideas around empowerment have evolved and how we can move forward to expand women’s opportunities and choices and realise women’s empowerment in a meaningful way.

Capacity building for decision makers to use evidence in policy making in Sudan

28 Feb 2017 03:29:08 GMT

Sudanese public policy is often seen as typically based on party ideology and the changing interests or socio-cultural beliefs of the National Congress party, which is a leading political party in the country. This is particularly the case with policies that disproportionately affect women such as the Public Order Laws. Many trainers, including from the Gender Centre for Research and Training (GCRT) have delivered training to policymakers on gender-related issues in the past with the goal of mainstreaming gender in development policies and practices. The training activities have often focused on specific issues such as engendering constitutional reform or Female Genital Mutilation and on presenting specific research findings to policymakers.
Here the authors discuss the gaps, needs and challenges faced by policymakers and civil society on gender issues in Sudan.

Governance of-non-state social protection initiatives: implications for addressing gendered vulnerability to poverty in Uganda

21 Feb 2017 12:15:12 GMT

Non-state actors (NSAs) are offering social protection services in Uganda to address vulnerabilities associated with poverty. Information is limited on their adequacy and efficacy and how their governance mechanisms address gender concerns.

This study aimed to fill that gap. The research was conducted December 2012 to May 2013 in Katakwi and Kyegegwa Districts, selected for their levels of poverty and vulnerability associated with the civil war, cattle rustling and influx of refugees from neighbouring countries. The design was cross-sectional and used semi-structured questionnaires, key informant interviews, focus group discussions and case studies with NSA beneficiaries and representatives and opinion leaders.

Formal NSAs deliver mostly promotive services such as capacity building in farming and human rights sensitisation while informal NSAs provide mainly preventive services like savings and credit, and burial and moral support. The needs are great and the resources limited, so only the immediate problems are handled. For gender issues such services are only symptomatic treatment: what is needed are preventive and transformative interventions to deliver sustained reduction in gendered vulnerability. Large and formal NSAs depend on donor support, and community-based organisations on contributions, neither of which is sustainable.

The NSAs have governance instruments, but these are gender blind and broad in definition. Formal NSAs are accountable to the government and donors but not to their clientele. The contrary is true for informal NSAs.

A national policy that accommodates the local context is needed to support delivery of NSA services; to facilitate offering of  transformative and preventive interventions of long-term and strategic nature; to guide NSAs to incorporate gender responsiveness as a guiding principle in their interventions; and to require NSAs to engage local communities in programme development. Gender should be integral to all policy and programming, supported by gender training at all levels.

Provision of social protection services by non-state actors in Nyanza Region Kenya : assessing women empowerment

21 Feb 2017 12:01:52 GMT

In Kenya, women are more likely than men to suffer poverty and its associated vulnerabilities, mainly because they are excluded from decision-making on economic issues, they have limited access to the factors of production, particularly land, and traditional customs allocate them undervalued roles and constrain their voice and mobility. Many of the 300,000 non-state actors (NSAs) providing social protection services in the country are helping women deal with
these challenges and improve their livelihood.
This study sought to find out whether these social protection services were empowering women, expanding their livelihood skills and enhancing their ability to make strategic life choices, which they were previously denied.

The study mapped NSA social protection providers and services in Bondo, Kisii, Kisumu and Siaya districts in Nyanza region, followed by an in-depth survey of selected NSAs and their beneficiaries. Most of the NSA programmes were transforming the lives of poor women and empowering them, particularly the programmes focusing on income generation, access to credit and savings, skills training, and civic education and leadership skills. NSAs need to be supported for effective delivery of their services by coordination of their
activities and strengthening of their role in gender sensitive social protection programming.
Their anti-poverty programmes could be made more empowering and gender sensitive if the targeted groups were involved in their design and implementation. This would require that the beneficiaries be regarded as active agents of change and equal stakeholders in the social protection programmes’ development processes. It is vital that linkages be established between policy actors for exchange of knowledge and lesson learning, and that investment be made in building capacity for planning and implementation for programme implementers to develop skills that will ensure gender-sensitive programme designs translate into gender-sensitive implementation. NSAs can support people facing challenges with practical help, but they can also promote public action to challenge the state to transform laws

Young women’s household bargaining power in marriage and parenthood in Ethiopia

17 Feb 2017 11:41:18 GMT

In Ethiopian government policy, marriage under the age of 18 is considered ‘early marriage’ or ‘child marriage’ and is categorised as a harmful traditional practice. Efforts to tackle harmful traditional practices in the country have been made in the name of gender equality.

In 2014, Ethiopia ranked 129 out 188 countries in the Gender Inequality Index (UNDP 2015). This is despite the government’s commitment to improve the social standing of girls and women, and the number of programmes targeting different aspects of gender inequality, from early marriage to women’s job creation, as well as attempts to change local cultural belief systems.
This working paper examines the factors that affect the bargaining power of young married women in marriage and parenthood in Ethiopia, where power structures remain overwhelmingly male-dominated and patriarchal. It draws on longitudinal qualitative data and survey information collected by Young Lives with children, young people and their families between 2007 and 2015.

The paper’s main focus is young women’s changing relations and analysis of their ‘bargaining power’ before and after marriage. The concept of bargaining power has been used to understand gender inequality, primarily from the field of economics, but this mainly qualitative paper takes bargaining power to mean the negotiating capacity of young married women within their marital relationships and households.

The paper argues that intra-household, social-institutional and individual factors intertwine to shape young women’s agency towards bargaining power in differing areas of their lives. Generally, factors such as urban or rural residence, education, standard of living, customs and norms combine to shape the bargaining power of young women in marriage. Decisions are usually made at a collective level, whereas agency at the individual level is often very shallow.

The study has several policy implications:
  • policies aimed at helping women exercise gender equality in marriage and even before marriage have to consider the household-level factors, individual-level factors and the wider perspective of community level factors that shape the bargaining power of women
  • policies and programmes targeted towards reducing gender inequality at the intra-household level have to also consider contexts and how cultural beliefs and norms shape the frameworks of marriage and of decision-making more broadly
  • this examination of bargaining power draws attention to the role of relationships, such that policies aimed to empower women must also work with and for those who have a stake in limiting or enhancing women’ s agency, including their mothers, husbands, other relatives and community members

The politics of negotiating gender equity in Bangladesh

17 Feb 2017 01:30:38 GMT

In Bangladesh there is a paradox when it comes to securing gender-inclusive development outcomes. Since 1991, women have occupied the highest political office and women’s presence is increasing, due to the existence of gender quotas. Women’s movement actors have a long history of mobilisation for women’s rights and securing progressive changes. However, this overlooks the complex ways in which power and politics operate in Bangladesh, including the difficulties of mobilising women as a political force in a patriarchal, informalised, clientelist context. Women, as a political group, have little to offer the ruling elites in Bangladesh: they do not vote as a block; gender equity concerns have little currency in mainstream politics; and women’s organisations are weak actors in the formal political arena.
This paper investigates two successful policy cases – the Domestic Violence Act 2010, and the expansion of access to primary education for girls – to investigate what led the state to address gender equity concerns successfully in some policy areas in a competitive clientelist context? What role, if any, did women and their allies play to make these changes happen? Why do some failures in implementation persist?
Findings indicate that the alignment between each policy reform and the dominant interests and ideas of the ruling coalition influenced the capacity and commitment accorded to each agenda. Progress on passing the Domestic Violence Act was made through the high degree of personal, historical and informal relations with supportive people in government. Opportunity was created by a key moment of state formation which opened up an absence of partisan politicking and a supportive advocate at the centre of government. Expansion of girls’ access to primary education was carried along by a wave of political support for the expansion agenda, which fitted closely with powerful political logics concerning ideas, patronage, distribution, legitimacy and international support. In both cases, transnational actors, events and discourses are able to tip the balance in favour of women’s rights, and South-South exchanges can play a vital role in promoting women’s rights. Both cases reveal how the political settlement has shaped the promotion of gender equity in Bangladesh, and the value of moving beyond the usual focus on the impact of gender quotas and the effectiveness of state gender machinery, to the deeper forms of politics and power relations that shape progress on this front.

Understanding children’s experiences of violence in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, India: evidence from Young Lives

10 Feb 2017 11:59:31 GMT

Physical and emotional violence towards children in India appears to be so widespread that it is often difficult to trace the direct effects of poverty; the findings suggest that a range of factors appear to play a role, especially age and gender norms.
This paper explores children’s accounts of violence in Andhra Pradesh, India, and the ways in which factors at the individual, family, community, institutional and society levels affect children’s experiences of violence. The paper analyses cross-sectional survey data and case studies from longitudinal qualitative data gathered over a seven-year period, from Young Lives.

The paper reveals that a child’s disapproval of violence does not necessarily influence behaviour in later life, confirming the need for interventions to prevent and tackle violence as children grow up.

More promisingly, children also describe strategies through which to protect themselves from violence and the threat of violence. The paper contributes to knowledge about the nature and experience of violence among children in resource poor settings, and concludes with some suggestions for policy, programming and practice.

Population aging in India: facts, issues, and options

10 Feb 2017 10:58:43 GMT

India, one of the world’s two population superpowers, is undergoing unprecedented demographic changes. Increasing longevity and falling fertility have resulted in a dramatic increase in the population of adults aged 60 and up, in both absolute and relative terms. This change presents wide-ranging and complex health, social, and economic challenges, both current and future, to which this diverse and heterogeneous country must rapidly adapt.
This chapter first lays out the context, scope, and magnitude of India’s demographic changes. It then details the major challenges these shifts pose in the interconnected areas of health, especially the massive challenges of a growing burden of noncommunicable diseases; gender, particularly the needs and vulnerabilities of an increasingly female older adult population; and income security.
This chapter also presents an overview of India’s recent and ongoing initiatives to adapt to population aging and provide support to older adults and their families. It concludes with policy recommendations that may serve as a productive next step forward, keeping in mind the need for urgent and timely action on the part of government, private companies, researchers, and general population.

CLTS engagement, outcomes and empowerment in Malagasy communities

10 Feb 2017 10:29:27 GMT

Gender equality, serving the most vulnerable, and addressing the particular needs of women and girls are among the core principles of the Global Sanitation Fund (GSF). In order to better understand the link between gender dynamics and the impact of its Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) interventions, the GSF supported a study in a small number of communities in Madagascar in 2015. These communities are in the area covered by the GSF-supported programme in Madagascar, known locally as ‘Fonds d’Appui pour l’Assainissement’ (FAA). This ‘GSF in focus’ case study highlights and reflects on the study.

Ending child marriage and stopping the spread of HIV ...opportunities and challenges for action

10 Feb 2017 04:14:39 GMT

AIDS is now the number-one killer of adolescents in Africa. What is more worrying is that seven of every 10 new infections of HIV among adolescents are girls, which shows how vulnerable girls are to acquiring HIV. Similar socioeconomic factors drive both HIV and child marriage, but very few studies have shown the causal effects and links between the two.
This desk review examines some of the existing literature to highlight what is known about the links between child marriage and HIV, and spotlights opportunities for further action. Very few studies have explicitly explored the two phenomena. Given recent increases in the number of adolescent girls who are HIV-positive and the high numbers and rates of child marriage in countries with high HIV prevalence, the data do suggest a correlation between ending child marriage and stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS.
This review argues that gender, gender relations and women’s empowerment play a significant role in linking child marriage and HIV. When girls marry young, usually to older men, they are vulnerable to gender-based disadvantages. The imbalance of power in a child marriage significantly erodes a girl’s control of her body and her social and economic potential.

Transmission, spread and control of HIV hinges on improving gender relations, and this may be even truer with child marriage. Fundamentally, child marriage is a construct and a result of gender imbalances.

The interplay between community, household and child level influences on trajectories to early marriage in Ethiopia

10 Feb 2017 01:10:22 GMT

Child marriage is a global concern and a priority issue for the African Union; the Ethiopian government has devised a strategy to eliminate the practice by 2025.

This paper analyses Young Lives survey and qualitative data from girls aged 19 to understand pathways to early marriage, which the authors argue can best be explained by a combination of interacting factors at community, household and individual levels.

Findings confirm that child marriage is primarily a female, rural phenomenon, with regional and local differences related to cultural norms. Early teen marriage is more common in regions in the north and is often related to family poverty. Customs of dowry in the north and bridewealth in the south present constraints, especially for teenagers from poorer families.

Household characteristics are also important; parental education, especially that of the father, reduces the likelihood of child marriage. Parental death and absence was highlighted in the qualitative case material. Household wealth was particularly significant, with less than 10 per cent of early marriages among the top tercile, and family circumstances such as ill-health and drought were compounding factors. Parental imposition of marriage was stronger and girls’ agency more limited among the younger teenage girls, whereas older teenagers were more likely to make their own marital choices.

The gender imbalance is stark, with 13 per cent of teenage girls married compared to less than 1 per cent of boys. Girls continuing with schooling were less likely to get married, but most left school first due to family poverty and problems. Paid work at 15 was found to be statistically significant as a predictor of early marriage, while case material suggests that some girls chose marriage over jobs involving hard labour. Once married, return to schooling was constrained by social norms and childcare.

The findings suggest a need to recognise that there are early marriage ‘hotspots’, and conversely other areas where the practice is declining faster and girls marrying later, which can provide important lessons for interventions. Policies should further promote girls’
education, including for already married girls, and focus more on protection for younger teenager girls who are at more risk from imposed marriages.

Child marriage and early child-bearing in India: risk factors and policy implications

09 Feb 2017 01:53:47 GMT

Prevalence rates of child marriage and early child-bearing have been declining across India over the past two decades, but absolute numbers remain high. This paper uses data collected from 3,000 children over 15 years in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana by Young Lives, a longitudinal study of childhood poverty, to provide an evidence base from which to strengthen policy and programming in this area.

An ecological life-course framework is used to explore the causes of child marriage and early child-bearing and the factors which help to prevent them. Findings show that:
  • girls who stay in school for longer marry later, but gender gaps in enrolment widen during adolescence
  • where household resources are limited, gendered social risks become more acute and parents are forced to make decisions which disadvantage girls
  • aspirations matter but reflect wider realities
  • and social norms that encourage early child-bearing are compounded by inequitable access to health and education services
The paper finds that, whilst child marriage and early child-bearing are driven by entrenched patriarchal norms regarding the role and value of girls (and women) in society, structural factors are critical. Poverty and social disadvantage constrain girls’ opportunities and exacerbate the risks they face, forcing individual girls and their families to maintain ‘normal’ practices, thus reinforcing norms. An ecological life-course framework helps to demonstrate the need for a layered strategy to tackle the gendered disadvantages which drive child marriage and early child-bearing.

Child Under-weight and Agricultural Productivity in India: Implications for Public Provisioning and Women’s Agency

19 Jan 2017 04:10:05 GMT

The well-known pathways that link agriculture to child nutrition are food, quality of food, and care of feeding. Further, agricultural productivity growth contributes significantly to poverty reduction and reduction in child undernutrition. Care of children and feeding practices depend upon women’s knowledge, and hence women’s education and their freedom to act are closely related to child nutrition.

A recent global hunger index indicated a 12 percent decline in child underweight rates. This study attempts an empirical explanation of the factors that influence child underweight rates at the district level.
The aim of the paper is to look at the association of the proportion of underweight children, with the overall agricultural productivity, women’s agency, child and maternal health status, and the available public services across 430 districts in India with the help of linear regressions and quantile regressions.
Agricultural land productivity, share of women educated above the secondary level and participating in work, maternal, and child health seem to contribute to the reduction in child underweight. However government health and water supply facilities turn out to be ineffective.

Gender in climate-smart agriculture: module 18 for gender in agriculture sourcebook

06 Jan 2017 01:50:39 GMT

This module provides guidance and a comprehensive menu of practical tools for integrating gender in the planning, design, implementation, and evaluation of projects and investments in climate-smart agriculture (CSA). The module emphasizes the importance and ultimate goal of integrating gender in CSA practices, which is to reduce gender inequalities and ensure that men and women can equally benefit from any intervention in the agricultural sector to reduce risks linked to climate change. Climate change has an impact on food and nutrition security and agriculture, and the agriculture sector is one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases. It is crucial to recognize that climate change affects men and women differently. The content is drawn from tested good practice and innovative approaches, with an emphasis on lessons learned, benefits and impacts, implementation issues, and replicability. These insights and lessons related to gender in CSA will assist practitioners to improve project planning, design, monitoring, and evaluation; to effectively scale up and enhance the sustainability of efforts that are already underway; or to pursue entirely different solutions. This module contains five thematic notes (TNs) that provide a concise and technically sound guide to gender integration in the selected themes. These notes summarize what has been done and highlight the success and lessons learned from projects and programs. [Wolrd Bank summary]

Vulnerability to climate change and adaptation strategies of local communities in Malawi: experiences of women fish-processing groups in the Lake Chilwa Basin

03 Jan 2017 11:11:51 GMT

In recent years, research on climate change and human security has received much attention among policy makers and academia alike. Communities in the Global South that rely on an intact resource base and struggle with poverty, existing inequalities and historical injustices will especially be affected by predicted changes in temperature and precipitation.

The objective of this article is to better understand under what conditions local communities can adapt to anticipated impacts of climate change. The empirical part of the paper answers the question as to what extent local women engaged in fish processing in the Chilwa Basin in Malawi have experienced climate change and how they are affected by it.
The article assesses an adaptation project designed to make those women more resilient to a warmer and more variable climate. The research results show that marketing and improving fish processing as strategies to adapt to climate change have their limitations. The study concludes that livelihood diversification can be a more effective strategy for Malawian women to adapt to a more variable and unpredictable climate rather than exclusively relying on a resource base that is threatened by climate change.

Gender, livestock and reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Costa Rica

03 Jan 2017 04:11:06 GMT

Costa Rica is developing a Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA) that will provide climate finance for best livestock management practices that generate climate change mitigation benefits. The LivestockPlus research project, implemented by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and partners, seeks to inform the NAMA by providing scientific evidence for improved pasture and cattle management to sustainably improve yields while also reducing emissions. Women are a target beneficiary of the research, yet the relevance of gender to the project’s aims has been unclear. A scoping exercise to identify opportunities to strengthen the gender component was therefore undertaken in 2015 using a case study in Costa Rica and a literature review.  This exercise identified women’s roles as (1) co-decision-makers with men in the household, (2) users of milk for making cheese (most households) and (3) farmers directly involved in livestock production activities under some circumstances.  Girls, together with boys, frequently played a role in the daily care of animals, which may influence girls’ capacities and willingness to become future farmers. The scoping exercise indicated opportunities for enhancing women’s roles in the cattle value chain and more generally, supporting women’s inclusion in (i) livestock and innovation for climate change mitigation, (ii) gender-responsive implementation of the NAMA, and (iii) capacity development.The following priority actions are recommended for strengthening gender research in Costa Rica:create an umbrella strategy for all members of the LivestockPlus consortium to develop, coordinate and implement research on gender, livestock and mitigation. The strategy should examine opportunities to empower women in the cattle value chain (e.g., improve their role in participation and access to benefits related to cheese making) and include women in innovation processes, NAMA implementation and capacity building. The strategy should be responsive to the needs of both men and women farmers and stakeholders in the consortiumbuild synergies across the gender component of the project’s research streams.  This should include strengthening the gender component in value chain development, identifying the opportunities and constraints to women’s effective participation in intermediary organizations; and improving among all streams the understanding of men and women’s empowerment, with the aim of improving women’s participation in decision making and access to benefits. Research on intermediary organisations, such as informal farmer organisations, Costa Rica’s Livestock Development Corporation (CORFOGA chapters, community-level organizations, women's groups, and private sector value chain partners  is essential to identify and develop opportunities for women to participate in activities at the farm level and in value chainsconduct research on gender and youth on the 98 pilot farms informing Costa Rica’s understanding of production systems and pilot work on NAMAsengage women and youth in capacity development on the 98 pilot farms. Activities [...]

Gender dimensions of vulnerability to climate change in China

03 Jan 2017 03:35:43 GMT

China is vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change in various ways, including through disasters such as floods, droughts and typhoons, and is therefore a key player in the global efforts to mitigate climate change.

This publication presents the findings of new research study on how gender equality, climate change and disaster risks intersect in China. The research investigates gender gaps in China’s policy framework, attitudes and gender composition of government institutions, NGOs’ roles as well men and women’s differential vulnerabilities to the adverse impacts of climate change.

The research report also outlines 15 recommendations for the next steps. The report’s data was collected through a policy review, 84 interviews and a survey of over 3400 people in eight counties of Jiangsu, Qinghai and Shaanxi provinces. The research will support evidence-based discussion on how China can integrate gender into climate change action and disaster risk reduction over the coming years.


Listening to women and girls diplaced to urban Afghanistan

20 Dec 2016 03:55:49 GMT

Growing numbers of internally displaced people (IDPs) live  in  informal  settlements  in  major  Afghan  urban  centres. Compared with other Afghans they are more likely to be non-literate, to have lower rates of school enrolment, to live in larger households (but with lower household  incomes),  to  be  unemployed  and  to  be  highly food insecure.

There is insufficient understanding of and response to the needs of youth, and particularly vulnerable females, displaced to urban areas.  This report presents findings of research in three informal settlements in Jalalabad, Kabul and Kandahar which was commissioned by the Norwegian  Refugee  Council  and  researched  by  The  Liaison  Office  (TLO),  an  Afghan  non-governmental  organisation.

The   study   confirmed   earlier   findings   about   the impacts  for  IDPs  of  living  in  poor  urban  settlements,  characterised by inadequate and crowded accommodation,   insufficient   water   and   sanitation facilities,  extreme  food  insecurity  and  inability  to  get education or employment.

The  findings  of  the  research  break  new  ground, confounding   the   common   assumption   that   urban   women and girls should be more able – in a supposedly more secure and progressive urban environment with a  concentration  of  service  providers  –  to  access  services and employment and social opportunities than prior to their displacement.

This   research   found   the   opposite,   showing   that  displacement    places    women    and    children    at    disproportionate  risk,  living  with  fewer  freedoms  and  opportunities  than  those  they  enjoyed  in  their  natal  villages  or  when  living  in  Pakistan  or  Iran.  Evidence  gathered shows that displaced females face significant enhanced    gendered    constraints    to    accessing    education,   health   and   employment   opportunities.   They  have  lost  freedoms,  social  capital  and  networks  they  may  have  previously  enjoyed.  The  controlling  tendencies of their male kin, and their propensity to violence, are enhanced by their own desperation.

Women-led agroforestry and improved cookstoves in Honduras Field evaluation of farmer-led gender-transformative strategies for low emissions agriculture

20 Dec 2016 01:26:53 GMT

This paper outlines the development of a women-led agroforestry and improved cookstoves project in Honduras. Analysis aims to contribute to learning for future projects, especially projects aiming to improve gender relations. The project intended to increase gender equity among smallholder farmers while reducing greenhouse gas emissions through agroforestry and fuel-efficient stoves.

The project was successful due to:

  • participating farmers’ experience with innovation and research
  • engagement of men in women-led activities to enable slow, organic changes in gender relations within the implementing organization, farmers’ organizations and households; and
  • the strong history, knowledge and working relations that the implementing organization had with farmers on the ground

Areas for improvement include harnessing farmers’ knowledge of crop breeding and research to test a wider range of coffee varieties under different conditions, and improving data collection systems. Main technical findings cover topics from micro-catchment to integrated pest management to micro- financing.

This report includes an explanation of the community’s needs; a description of the technical, social, scientific and economic innovations employed in the execution of the project; and a series of recommendations to aid in the development of future projects. 

Gender dynamics in rice-farming households in Vietnam: a literature review

16 Dec 2016 11:04:28 GMT

This literature review is part of the CCAFS program on low emission agriculture flagship of the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security. It serves as a background document to better understand gender roles and dynamics in the rice sector in Vietnam, and provides input into research activities on the gender  dimensions of mitigation options such as alternate wetting and drying. An understanding of gender issues helps to both improve effective design and delivery of mitigation technologies and ensure that the benefits of mitigation technologies reach women and men equitably. This will enable mitigation technologies to contribute to livelihood resilience, gender equity, and other development objectives as well as to lowering greenhouse gas emissions.

Freedom, empowerment and opportunities: action plan for women's rights and gender equality in foreign and development policy 2016-2020

16 Dec 2016 06:16:54 GMT

The fundamental aim of Norway’s gender equality efforts is to increase the opportunities available to women and girls, promote their right to self-determination, and further their empowerment. This is crucial if girls, boys, women and men are to have equal rights and equal opportunities. Norway will help to ensure that women gain a stronger position in the family, in the community and in the international arena. Boys and men can be agents of change for gender equality, and will also benefit from gender equality. Our work on women’s rights is based on international human rights obligations, in particular the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

This Action Plan focuses on five thematic priority areas. These have been chosen because they are recognised as crucial for improving the situation of women, and because they are relevant for both foreign and development policy. These are also areas where Norway has particular strengths and can make a difference. The Action Plan brings together and builds on the measures set out in chapter 7 of the white paper on gender equality (Meld. St. 7, 2015-2016 – in Norwegian only), the white papers Education for Development (Meld. St. 25, 2013-2014), Opportunities for All: Human Rights in Norway’s Foreign Policy and Development Cooperation (Meld. St. 10, 2014-2015) and Working together: Private sector development in Norwegian development cooperation (Meld. St. 35, 2014-2015). It also reaffirms the long-standing commitment to promoting gender equality in Norwegian foreign policy.

National action plan. Women, peace and security 2015-2018

16 Dec 2016 06:05:22 GMT

The adoption of UN Security Council resolution 1325 in 2000 was a groundbreaking event. The resolution recognised the disproportionate impact of conflict on women, the need to protect women from violence during conflicts, and the vital importance of women’s participation and the protection of women’s rights for international peace and security. Since 2000, the Security Council has adopted a further six resolutions on women, peace and security. Resolutions adopted by the Security Council are binding on all UN members.The Security Council resolutions on women, peace and security are intended to bridge the gap between theory and practice in this field. The present Action Plan is a tool to help Norway contribute to these efforts. The resolutions establish norms and make recommendations on how to integrate a gender perspective into peace and security efforts. The starting point is that ensuring women’s participation and taking the experience of women into account are of crucial importance in preventing and dealing with conflict, in providing effective protection for women, and for establishing peace processes that result in sustainable peace. The resolutions point to the need to incorporate a gender perspective into international operations, so that the security needs of both men and women are taken into account. They also recognise that humanitarian efforts must address the needs of both women and men in conflict situations. Four of the resolutions deal with sexual violence and recommend ways of preventing and combating such violence. This is the Norwegian authorities’ third national plan on women, peace and security, and represents an important step forward in Norway’s efforts to implement the Security Council resolutions.Norway will continue to contribute to international efforts to achieve sustainable peace on the basis of human rights, the rule of law and democracy. Peace means far more than the absence of war. Norway’s efforts must be designed to meet women’s security and humanitarian needs and uphold women’s rights. The Government’s global health and education efforts, which are targeted particularly at women and girls, tie in with these overall aims. Our goal is to ensure that more children and young people affected by crisis and conflict receive a good-quality education. We will also seek to ensure that education is given higher priority in humanitarian aid work. There is systematic discrimination against women in many countries and in many areas of activity. Armed conflict can exacerbate the situation because women are forced to flee their homes, and also because parties to conflict may deliberately attack or abuse women. The lawlessness that accompanies conflicts can make women vulnerable, for example to sexual violence.It is of crucial importance to improve women’s security and increase their freedom of action and influence. The participation of women is important in itself: everyone has the right to take part in decision-making processes that affect[...]

Integrating gender into climate change adaptation programs: a research and capacity needs assessment for Sub-Saharan Africa

16 Dec 2016 02:52:06 GMT

Research shows that paying attention to gender matters not only for the equity of climate change adaptation programs but also for their efficiency and effectiveness. Many organizations working to increase resilience to climate change with local communities also recognize the importance of gender yet the degree to which gender is integrated in project implementation is unclear.

This study examines the extent to which organizations involved in climate change and resilience work are incorporating gender-sensitive approaches into their programs using data collected through a Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices (KAP) survey and Key Informant Interviews (KII) targeted at government agencies, local and international NGOs, and other practitioners.

The results show that although organizations have access to research on climate change from various sources, more evidence is needed to inform gender integration into climate change adaptation programs across a range of local contexts. Moreover, large gaps exist in integrating gender into projects, particularly during project design. Lack of staff capacity on gender, lack of funding to support gender integration and socio-cultural constraints were identified as key barriers to gender integration by many respondents, particularly from government agencies. Increasing the capacity of organizations to carry out rigorous research and pay greater to the gender dimensions of their programs is possible through greater collaboration across organizations and more funding for gender-sensitive research.

Advancing gender equality in the post-2020 climate regime

15 Dec 2016 03:03:01 GMT

Research and evidence show that women and men are vulnerable to climate change to varying degrees, and that they experience and respond to it in different ways. Policies and actions that overlook the gendered impacts of and responses to climate change yield inequitable outcomes and exacerbate existing gender inequalities. Actions that are gender-sensitive and gender-responsive — and therefore designed to yield benefits for the whole population — are not only fairer but also more effective. Yet the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has only recently turned its attention to gender equality. The focus, initially, was on enhancing women’s participation in negotiations but gender issues are now beginning to influence decision-making in important thematic areas, with particular progress being made in adaptation, capacity building and finance. As the Parties to the Convention enter the final, critical stage of negotiations for a new, universal and legally binding agreement, they must build on these foundations so that strong provisions for gender equality take their place as an integral part of future global climate policy.
Policy pointers:
  • a commitment to gender equality in the new agreement on climate change to be adopted in Paris in December this year is essential to ensure effective and inclusive climate policy and action post 2020
  • decisions already adopted under the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol represent early progress in this direction and should help governments to advance gender equality in the provisions of the Paris agreement
  • parties to the Convention must do more than focus on increasing women’s participation in decision-making, and commit to gender equality as a guiding principle of post-2020 climate policy and action
  • they should also address gender considerations in provisions that crystallise decisions in all the thematic areas of the global climate response: mitigation, adaptation, loss and damage, finance, technology development and transfer, capacity
    building and transparency of action and support

CARE gender toolkit

13 Dec 2016 12:17:06 GMT

Gender and power analysis form a foundation from which to contribute toward a just and sustainable impact toward gender equality. This site by CARE International presents options and reflections on the analysis of gender and power. This is no 'how-to' guide, but a toolbox of methods with discussion on tried successes, struggles and lessons on gender analysis.

Featured Sections include:

  • The Women's Empowerment Impact Measurement Initiative (WEIMI) Guide.
  • CARE's Good Practices Framework for Gender Analysis.
  • Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Video Tutorials.

Gender roles in urban climate resilience: lessons from Hue, Vietnam

13 Dec 2016 02:38:50 GMT

There is growing awareness in Southeast Asia about the significance of gender norms and roles in climate resilience. The expectations on, and responsibilities of, men and women differ due to differences in physical characteristics, and local physical, cultural and socio-economic conditions. In this study, it is found that Hue has its own special social and environmental identity that significantly influences its resilience to climate change. Gender roles are particularly important in relation to building that resilience. Women are perceived to make a more significant contribution to human well-being, accruing funds and offering mutual support at household and community level, while men are held responsible for safety, security and other continuity plans in communities. Challenging and changing these gender-based expectations will improve the capacity of both men and women to respond effectively to climate change.
Policy pointers:
  • men and women at a grassroots level have different vulnerabilities and contribute differently to building climate resilience in Hue
  • women play key roles in sustainingand enhancing the health and well-being of people within their community, and accruing funds for households, and communities. Women also organise mutual support for each other during times of disruption.
  • men are more active in activities relating to safety, security and other continuity plans for communities. Men are also more likely to hold management roles
  • to enhance the resilience of the people living in Hue, there are significant opportunities to challenge gender-based conceptions of capacity and responsibility, and to improve the gender sensitivity of decision-making processes and forums

Gender analysis in building climate resilience in Da Nang, Vietnam: challenges and solutions

13 Dec 2016 02:09:25 GMT

Climate resilience is more likely to be achieved when men and women fully participate in planning, decision making and implementation. This study looks at what roles men and women play in climate change planning and action, and to what extent women’s needs and capacity are fully taken into account. It focuses on Da Nang, Vietnam, a city extremely vulnerable to climate change. The three core components of urban climate resilience – systems, institutions and agents – which have been used by the Institute for Social and Environmental Transition (ISET) since 2012, were examined through the gender lens by conducting a series of stakeholder consultations and household interviews. The results indicate that (i) Da Nang has paid increasing attention to gender equality and the empowerment of women in general  administration, policy making and  implementation; (ii) social norms and gender biases still exist but they are not thought to be especially serious; (iii) both male and female groups are engaged in the process of planning and approving policies, plans and strategies on climate change; and (iv) gender relations have recently been given a positive signal in the form of support from a robust legal system and the formation of women’s associations within the municipal administrative system. Policy pointers:most major planning and policy decisions about building climate change resilience in Vietnam are taken by men because the involvement of women is restricted by social norms, gender biases and domestic work burdens. This often means that their needs and capacity are not sufficiently taken into accountwomen often have low levels of education in Vietnam, which means they have little awareness of climate change and climate change risk reduction, and this hinders their active involvement in helping to build climate resilience. This can be overcome through formal education and training to raise awareness, as well as helping women to find stable and well-paid jobs, which will give them the confidence to engage in community activities including responding to climate changeto enable women to fully participate in planning and decision making associated with climate change, it is crucial to have supportive mechanisms in place – for example, regulations on the minimum number of female members on councils or steering committeesgender-sensitive indexes/indicators should be integrated into plans, programs and projects at the city and district/ward levels to guide gendered interventions or actions so that both men and women’s needs, roles and responsibilities are taken into account when reducing vulnerability and enhancing climate resilience  [...]

Mainstreaming gender in climate change adaptation in Cirebon, Indonesia

13 Dec 2016 01:58:18 GMT

Climate change has a huge impact on many aspects of Indonesia’s economy, society and environment. The Cirebon area in West Java province is particularly affected by sea level rise, coastal flooding and long-term drought, making its population vulnerable to climate change impacts.

Vulnerability to climate change depends on an individual’s adaptive capacity – and gender inequality can affect this capacity. This briefing assesses the gender dimensions of climate change vulnerability in Cirebon coastal area and explores how gender sensitivity can be mainstreamed into local climate adaptation policies. Other factors which affect adaptive capacity, such as education, livelihoods, culture and the role of government, should also be taken into account when mainstreaming gender effectively into urban climate resilience plans and initiatives.
Policy pointers:
  • gender is an important analytical lens which highlights the different ways in which women and men manage risks and access opportunities, and the implications of this differential access for reducing vulnerability to climate change
  • gender mainstreaming in climate change adaptation is complex, and it must be considered alongside education, economic conditions, cultural norms, and the role of government, to be effectively implemented
  • Indonesian national and local government institutions have started to consider gender mainstreaming in formulating and in implementing climate change adaptation policy and programs – but a key institution with legal authority in decision-making should oversee the process to avoid duplication

Lessons from improving a gender-based climate change vulnerability assessment

13 Dec 2016 01:41:17 GMT

indonesian cities are increasingly invested in efforts to build urban resilience, and finding means of resisting, absorbing and recovering from climate change hazards. Despite growing evidence that women, especially in underserved populations, suffer disproportionately from climate change hazards, there are inadequate data and methods for taking adequate account of women’s perspectives in city-level resiliency initiatives. The indonesian civil society organisation Kota Kita conducted a study to examine its methodology for undertaking Climate Change Vulnerability Assessments (CCVAs). it focused on how its CCVA process could better assess women’s climate vulnerability for urban planning efforts, the importance of using a gender lens for resiliency planning, and observed several key gender-focused resiliency efforts in indonesia.
The study found that women’s perspectives were lacking in city-level resilience planning because few women participate in CCVAs. it also found that any data obtained had limitations in terms of its credibility, availability and accessibility, and that institutional capacity for using it was also limited. finally, it found that
gender and resilience development trends could actually reinforce gender discrimination rather than alleviate it.
Policy pointers
  • Better city provision of public services can decrease poorer communities’ reliance on threatened ecosystem services and improve environmental issues like river pollution. This creates a positive feedback loop of reduced poverty, climate change mitigation, and environmental sustainability
  • Because traditional urban planning is dominated by male perspectives, using a ‘gender lens’ or designing policies through the perspectives of women can illuminate marginalised citizens’ perspectives more generally
  • City-level planning does not have effective gender-focused data collection and implementation methods. While climate change hazards affect everyone, municipal responses must be targeted and specific to differences in gendered experiences
  • Climate Change Vulnerability Assessments (CCVAs) are increasingly common methods among NGOs and other institutions for obtaining data on how climate change hazards affect men and women differently. These CCVAs are often carried out by local community groups, NGOs, and universities in partnership with local governments who can use the data to build more effective mitigation and adaptation responses

A gender-responsive approach to climate-smart agriculture: evidence and guidance for practitioners

09 Dec 2016 12:11:58 GMT

The gender gap in agriculture is a pattern, documented worldwide, in which women in agriculture have less access to productive resources, financial capital and to advisory services compared to men (FAO, 2011). In the context of Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA), this gap means that men and women are not starting off on a level playing field. While gender shapes both men’s and women’s lives, the tendency is for women to have a more disadvantaged position in comparison to men. This can have significant implications for the adoption and sustainability of practices under a CSA approach. Further, there is a risk that, if this gap is not taken into consideration, the development of site-specific CSA options could reinforce existing inequalities.

The aim of this brief is to explain how to take into account the gender gap in agriculture in the development of site-specific CSA-sensitive practices, such as those described in other briefs in this series, through the adoption of a gender-responsive approach. This approach means that the particular needs, priorities, and realities of men and women need to be recognized and adequately addressed in the design and application of CSA so that both men and women can equally benefit.

Key messages:

  • The gender gap in agriculture affects how men and women access and benefit from CSA
  • a gender-responsive approach to CSA addresses this gap by recognizing the specific needs and capabilities of women and men
  • site-specific CSA practices that are also gender-responsive can lead to
    improvements in the lives of smallholder farmers, fishers and foresters, as well as more sustainable results


Gender differences in climate change perception and adaptation strategies: A case study on three provinces in Vietnam's Mekong River Delta

09 Dec 2016 11:32:34 GMT

This brief summarizes the findings of a project output for the Policy Information and Response Platform on Climate Change and Rice in ASEAN and its Member Countries (PIRCCA), being implemented by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). The report focuses on the
results of the survey conducted in the first half of 2015 on climate change perception and adaptation strategies of male and female farmers in three selected provinces across the Mekong River Delta (MRD) region in Vietnam: An Giang, Bac Lieu, and Tra Vihn.

Key messages:

  • all participants in the study have witnessed a change in weather in the last 10 years. Most notably, temperatures have increased and become more variable while precipitation has decreased and become more variable
  • perceptions of climate change in Vietnam do not appear to be individual but rather disaggregated at the household level (at the most finite level) or possibly at the landscape level
  • perceived impacts of stress by male and female respondents are quite similar, which may indicate that stress is managed at the household level rather than at the individual level
  • further gender research in Vietnam should focus on adaptation and coping strategies during climate change stress as it appears that gender differences are most present in this area

To cope with climate change issues, farmers need:

  • rice varieties that are tolerant to stresses such as heat, drought, and salinity
  • pest management training
  • crop production management training

Challenges related to climate change faced by individual households are likely to be the same challenges as their neighbors. Thus, future climate change studies in Vietnam should also include spatial analysis.

A gender approach to understanding the differentiated impact of barriers to adaptation: responses to climate change in rural Ethiopia

01 Dec 2016 02:39:11 GMT

While adaptation has received a fair amount of attention in the climate change debate, barriers to adaptation are the focus of a more specific, recent discussion. In this discussion, such barriers are generally treated as having a uniform, negative impact on all actors. However, this paper argues that the precise nature and impact of such barriers on different actors has so far been largely overlooked.

This study of two drought-prone communities in rural Ethiopia sets out to examine how female- and male-headed households adapt to climate change, particularly focusing on how a variety of barriers influence the choice of adaptation measures to varying extents.

To this purpose, the authors built a conceptual framework based on the Sustainable Livelihood Approach. Data were collected using semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions with male- and female-headed households, community leaders and local extension workers.

Findings suggest that gender-based differences in the choice of adaptation measures at the household level are driven by cultural, social, financial and institutional barriers. Barriers to adaptation—particularly when interacting—have a differentiated impact upon different actors. This outcome hints at the need for donors and policymakers to develop intervention strategies that are sensitive to this fact.