Scientific Publication

Intersections of Gender and Marital Status in Accessing Climate Change Adaptation: Evidence from Rural Tanzania


Climate scholars are increasingly recognizing the importance of gender in climate change vulnerability, but often either dichotomize men and women as homogeneous categories or limit themselves to comparing male- and female-headed households. We use an intersectionality framework to examine how the adaptive strategies of Tanzanian farmers are mediated through their gender and marital statuses. Drawing on focus group discussions and using logistic regression to analyze questionnaire data, we compare the relative adoption of the different adaptive strategies of single, married, divorced, and widowed men and women. Our study shows that, while a woman’s marital status is a vital factor in determining her access to adaptive strategies, it is a less important factor in the case of men. We show that, compared with other women, widows and female divorcees are disadvantaged in the field of agricultural water management, and divorced women assume relatively more income-earning activities outside the farming sector. Finally, we find evidence of livelihood diversification at the household level through specialization by individual household members. Based on the empirical evidence, we develop a typology with which to synthesize the linkages between gender, marital status, and adaptive strategies; and we subsequently emphasize the importance of an intersectionality approach to gender and climate change policy and practice.