Tackling unequal household gender relations in food security (e.g. women eating less than men in a given household) and agricultural productivity (e.g. women having access to less fertile land than their husbands) is a priority for gender responsive adaptation. Disaggregating households by individuals is a central notion for good targeting, which applies to all sectors including climate change adaptation. Effective targeting should include gender groups at risk such as women-headed households and vulnerable categories of women, including single mothers, adolescent girls and widows.

Lessons Learned

  • A precondition for well-designed gender-responsive targeting is rigorous gender analysis conducted by gender specialists in the targeted regions.

  • For effective targeting, sound knowledge of the local situation is required including forces at play, people at risk, and factors that make particular groups vulnerable to particular risks and agents of change.

  • Involvement of multidisciplinary teams can be targeted to exploring various dimensions of women's lives, including abusive practices in the context of poverty and seasonal vulnerabilities.

  • Adaptation projects can invest in non-traditional roles for women and look beyond material needs or a strict sectoral focus (e.g. agriculture or water), in order to strengthen women's self-esteem and dignity.

Targeting women-headed households

The focus on women-headed households across countries can be an important element of gender targeting. Women-headed households may consist of households where the female head is divorced, separated or widowed. It could also include households in which the man is largely absent due to temporary or permanent migration for economic reasons, and a woman has become the de facto head. Commonly, these households are particularly exposed to economic hardships and they are severely affected by impacts of climate change. This reflects the necessity for adaptation initiatives to take the trend of feminization of poverty into account, which has structural and socio-economic roots.

Successful Examples

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Addressing the risk of sexual harassment for girls and young women

Evidence from literature on climate change suggests that girls and women from resource-poor families lack fallback options during times of stress. As climate change impacts further limit their options and earning opportunities, they face a higher risk of sexual harassment than other groups. Empowering this group can make them resilient, especially during times of stress caused by environmental factors.

Successful Examples