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The diversity of gendered adaptation strategies to climate change of Indian farmers: A feminist intersectional approach

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ABSTRACT

This paper examines climate change adaptation and gender issues through an application of a feminist intersectional approach. This approach permits the identification of diverse adaptation responses arising from the existence of multiple and fragmented dimensions of identity (including gender) that intersect with power relations to shape situation-specific interactions between farmers and ecosystems. Based on results from contrasting research cases in Bihar and Uttarakhand, India, this paper demonstrates, inter alia, that there are geographically determined gendered preferences and adoption strategies regarding adaptation options and that these are influenced by the socio-ecological context and institutional dynamics. Intersecting identities, such as caste, wealth, age and gender, influence decisions and reveal power dynamics and negotiation within the household and the community, as well as barriers to adaptation among groups. Overall, the findings suggest that a feminist intersectional approach does appear to be useful and worth further exploration in the context of climate change adaptation. In particular, future research could benefit from more emphasis on a nuanced analysis of the intra-gender differences that shape adaptive capacity to climate change.

Electronic supplementary material: The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s13280-016-0833-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Focus group discussions with women in Uttarakhand (top) and with men in Bihar (bottom)(Photo: David Tarrasón)
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Fig2: Focus group discussions with women in Uttarakhand (top) and with men in Bihar (bottom)(Photo: David Tarrasón)

Mentions: Qualitative information was collected in order to explore the differentiated perceptions of men and women about climate change as well as other drivers of change, along with the strategies they rank as the most relevant to counteract the effect of these drivers. Along with secondary data, information was collected, in the first instance, through in-depth interviews with key informants, local NGOs, local scientists and governmental representatives. Field surveys were conducted with the assistance of two translators: a woman to talk mainly with women and a man to talk mainly with men. Focus group discussions (11 in Uttarakhand and 14 in Bihar) (Fig. 2) were realized with the assistance of two translators (a woman and a man), as female and male focus groups were organized separately. In Bihar, separate focus groups were organized for upper and lower castes in one village and for farmers who were participating or not involved in external projects and programmes in a second village. Participants first discussed and prioritized the main drivers of change (i.e. climate change and other environmental change; socio-economic and political change; cultural change) and related impacts. Then, they listed and ranked the adaptation strategies considered as relevant for reducing the vulnerability of local livelihoods or for managing and mitigating the impacts of these drivers. The strategies were ranked in each focus group from 5 (very important) to 0 (not important). This information on the ranked adaptation strategies was then used to design the larger household survey.Fig. 2


The diversity of gendered adaptation strategies to climate change of Indian farmers: A feminist intersectional approach
Focus group discussions with women in Uttarakhand (top) and with men in Bihar (bottom)(Photo: David Tarrasón)
© Copyright Policy - OpenAccess
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC5120025&req=5

Fig2: Focus group discussions with women in Uttarakhand (top) and with men in Bihar (bottom)(Photo: David Tarrasón)
Mentions: Qualitative information was collected in order to explore the differentiated perceptions of men and women about climate change as well as other drivers of change, along with the strategies they rank as the most relevant to counteract the effect of these drivers. Along with secondary data, information was collected, in the first instance, through in-depth interviews with key informants, local NGOs, local scientists and governmental representatives. Field surveys were conducted with the assistance of two translators: a woman to talk mainly with women and a man to talk mainly with men. Focus group discussions (11 in Uttarakhand and 14 in Bihar) (Fig. 2) were realized with the assistance of two translators (a woman and a man), as female and male focus groups were organized separately. In Bihar, separate focus groups were organized for upper and lower castes in one village and for farmers who were participating or not involved in external projects and programmes in a second village. Participants first discussed and prioritized the main drivers of change (i.e. climate change and other environmental change; socio-economic and political change; cultural change) and related impacts. Then, they listed and ranked the adaptation strategies considered as relevant for reducing the vulnerability of local livelihoods or for managing and mitigating the impacts of these drivers. The strategies were ranked in each focus group from 5 (very important) to 0 (not important). This information on the ranked adaptation strategies was then used to design the larger household survey.Fig. 2

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

This paper examines climate change adaptation and gender issues through an application of a feminist intersectional approach. This approach permits the identification of diverse adaptation responses arising from the existence of multiple and fragmented dimensions of identity (including gender) that intersect with power relations to shape situation-specific interactions between farmers and ecosystems. Based on results from contrasting research cases in Bihar and Uttarakhand, India, this paper demonstrates, inter alia, that there are geographically determined gendered preferences and adoption strategies regarding adaptation options and that these are influenced by the socio-ecological context and institutional dynamics. Intersecting identities, such as caste, wealth, age and gender, influence decisions and reveal power dynamics and negotiation within the household and the community, as well as barriers to adaptation among groups. Overall, the findings suggest that a feminist intersectional approach does appear to be useful and worth further exploration in the context of climate change adaptation. In particular, future research could benefit from more emphasis on a nuanced analysis of the intra-gender differences that shape adaptive capacity to climate change.

Electronic supplementary material: The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s13280-016-0833-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus