Women’s Empowerment at the Frontline of Adaptation

This report explores the differences in impacts and adaptive capacities between and among women and men and identifies appropriate and sustainable adaptation strategies to ensure equitable access to resources, rights, and opportunities for women and men. This report is an important step towards a rapid assessment of key issues, needs, and gaps in the area of gender, climate change, and natural resource management in Nepal with a specific focus on the Koshi river basin. Objectives The report examines the impacts of climate change on gender relations keeping the broad framework of the climate risk sectors identified by the Government of Nepal’s Strategic Program for Climate Resilience (which is part of the global Pilot Program for Climate Resilience) as its base. The Government of Nepal has identified quantity and quality of water; food security and; ecosystem health as the three most critical climate risk sectors. The report analyses the gaps, needs, opportunities, and emerging issues in relation to water; agriculture and food security and; forest and biodiversity in terms of women’s material condition and position and the challenges these present in the process of women’s empowerment. Besides these, the report looks at key governance issues in natural resource management. Analytical Scope Adaptation is the result of complex and often contested negotiations entered into by individuals, communities or countries. The cornerstones of the analytical framework for gender analysis developed by the HICAP gender team (Dr Ritu Verma, Dr Asuncion St. Clair, Dr Petra Tschakert, and Dr Suman Bisht) reflect the overarching context within which adaptation takes place; drivers of change; gender relations; and agency (see Figure 1). The framework illustrates how multiple drivers of change intersect with gender relations to shape the agency of the decision makers.

Figure 1: Gender Analytical Framework

Harsh/Diverse Environments, Marginality, Inaccessibility, Isolation/remoteness, Socio-Cultural Political-Economic Complexity

Drivers of Change • Climate change • Globalization • Migration • Economic policies • Development • Governance regimes

Agency • Diversity/heterogeneity • Knowledge • Power • Multiple identities • Decisionmaking • Contestations, negotiations • Space to maneuver • Resistance

Adaptation • Positive/negative • Autonomous • Collective action • Vulnerability and risks • Unintended consequences • Socio-cultural transformation

Gender Relations • Power relations

• Access to resources • Control, ownership, • Social institutions • Division of labour • Governance/

usufruct rights over land


Changing Over Time, Culturally-Culturally-Historically Specific, Socially Constructed, Multiple Meanings, Subjective


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