Report / Factsheet

Farmers in a changing climate does gender matter


This report presents the findings of research undertaken in six villages in two drought-prone districts of Andhra Pradesh, India, Mahbubnagar and Anantapur1. The study, carried out by an international team led by FAO, used gender, institutional, and climate analyses to document the trends in climate variability men and women farmers are facing and their responses to ensure food security in the context of larger socio-economic and political challenges to their livelihoods and well-being. This work contributes to a growing body of literature on gender and climate change and draws inspiration from pioneering work in the Indian context. Gender is one of numerous important socio-cultural dimensions typically included in climate change vulnerability assessments but it is rarely incorporated in adaptation research and planning. A major contribution of this research is the development of an innovative methodological model for studying gender and climate variability for use in the context of climate change. The research uses gender-sensitive qualitative and quantitative methods and gender analysis techniques to capture the voices of both men and women and quantify the degree to which men's and women's responses to climate variability differ. This research tests the hypothesis that due to gender roles (the behaviours, tasks, and responsibilities a society defines as "male" or "female") and due also to differential gendered access to resources, men and women experience climate variability differently and cope in diverse ways with climate variability and changing climate patterns. The findings confirm that there is a strong gender dimension to the way in which climate variability is experienced and expressed by farmers in their coping strategies to ensure their livelihoods and food security. Women's and men's perceptions of and responses to impacts of dry conditions, as well as their access to resources and support, differ in important ways. These findings demonstrate that gender analysis enhances our understanding of what farmers perceive as risks and how they respond to climatic changes. Such findings are essential for informing policy decisions by ensuring that the experiences of both women and men are embedded into policy design. Recommendations are made for future research and for incorporating gender issues into adaptation to longterm climate change.