Women undertake a disproportionate amount of unpaid care work, since it often falls under domestic responsibilities. This includes caring for children, the elderly, and the ill, household chores related to food production, and fuel and water collection. These activities have become increasingly time consuming due to the impacts of climate change on water availability and food production – resulting in increased time poverty for women. As a result, women have a limited ability to adapt, since they lack the time to participate in community decision-making, gain knowledge on adaptation strategies, or invest in new resilient livelihoods. There is also less time for paid work, so women’s incomes are directly affected, leading to lost opportunities.

Lessons Learned

  • Reducing unpaid care work can lead to increased earning capacity and financial autonomy for women.

  • Reducing time poverty has a direct impact on women’s empowerment through reducing domestic violence and more time for self-care activities, thus leading to increased self-esteem.

  • Freeing up considerable amounts of women’s time and energy enables them to contribute to social and human capital, develop new skills, and invest in their children’s education and well-being.

  • Creating conditions for women to get more involved in the public sphere, i.e. creating more time to attend meetings, take part in local committees, develop leadership skills, increases their civic participation.

Strategies for addressing women’s time poverty

Women’s traditional domestic responsibilities, such as accessing water, and collecting fuelwood in particular, have become increasingly time-consuming in the context of climate change. Reducing the burden of these time-consuming activities on women can address rural women’s time poverty and help free up time to engage in adaptation-related activities.

Successful Examples

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Reducing women’s workload through access to gender-responsive energy services

Many daily chores weigh heavily on women’s time and mobility, which can be addressed easily with sustainable energy sources. For example, in many countries, women spend up to two hours daily winnowing, threshing and pounding grain by hand. Thus, increasing women's adaptive capacity entails reducing the heavy workload constraining women's time and energy.

Successful Examples

Elements of a gender-transformative agenda on care

According to the “Triple R’s framework,” transforming gendered patterns around care work incorporates three elements: Recognize the role of women and girls in the provision of unpaid care work, as well as its social and economic value; Reduce the drudgery and time burden of unpaid care, especially for women living in poverty; and Redistribute unpaid care work from women to men, and from the family to communities and the state. All of these elements of empowerment contribute to enhancing the adaptive capacities not only of women, but also of the broader community.

Successful Examples

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