A multiscale analysis of gender in climate change adaptation

Evidence from Malawi

Authored by: Jane Maher

Routledge Handbook of Climate Justice

Print publication date:  November  2018
Online publication date:  November  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138689350
eBook ISBN: 9781315537689
Adobe ISBN:


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Climate justice is concerned with addressing the disjunction between climate risk and responsibility across scales, places, spaces and temporalities. Gender equality has increasingly become a core dimension of climate justice, resulting in the addition of gender considerations within climate change adaptation policy (CCA). Achieving gender equality in climate action is enshrined in the Paris Agreement. This chapter conducts a multiscale analysis assessing the evolution of gender mainstreaming in CCA policies at an international scale and how this translates to national and subnational policy and distribution in Malawi. It explores the differentiated vulnerabilities and coping mechanisms of social groups in the Lower Shire Valley in Malawi. The chapter highlights the successes and shortfalls of gender mainstreaming within CCA in a Malawi context to date. While acknowledging the increase of gendered language in policies, resulting in an increase of gender discourse among national and subnational actors interviewed, it is critical of the lack of depth and context that surrounds the numerous calls for gender equality, and it is seen that gender actions are often limited to operating a gender balance in CCA and disaster risk management (DRM) activities. For gender mainstreaming to be effective, there is a need to challenge cultural and traditional barriers, while also working with the social fabrics of society.

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