Women in Changing Climate: Findings from Cyclone Aila Affected Coastal Communities of Bangladesh, Mahin Al Nahian, G M Tarekul Islam, Sujit Kumar Bala
M. A. Nahian (International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr, b). Dhaka, Bangladesh., Dhaka, Bangladesh), at the Our Common Future Under Climate Change conference, July 7-10 in Paris, France.
Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - Women in Changing Climate: Findings from Cyclone Aila Affected Coastal Communities of Bangladesh, Mahin Al Nahian, G M Tarekul Islam, Sujit Kumar Bala
Mahin Al Nahian, G M Tarekul Islam, Sujit Kumar Bala
Center for Population, Urbanization and Climate change (CPUCC),
International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr, b). Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Institute of Water and Flood Management (IWFM)
Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET)
General: Gender and why gender inclusion is a
Research background: Context, research problem
and study area.
Methodology: Development of vulnerability
Result: Findings, discussion and recommendation.
‘In simplest way, gender means what men and women do in a
society as a member of the society.’
The term gender often used to indicate the ‘socially
marginalized, challenged and unfavoured’ segment of the
society. It is not a synonymous to women, but they are given
primary focus considering different aspects of inequality,
marginalization and burden of roles.
Climate change associated impact and vulnerability is gender
Climate change will magnify existing inequalities, reinforcing
the disparity between women and men in their vulnerability to
and capability to cope with climate change (UNDP, 2007).
Necessity of Gender Inclusion
The traditional approach in vulnerability assessment have its
own limitation to capture the impact and associated
vulnerability of climate change considering the overall gender
dimension which might hamper formulation of ‘Equitable’
adaptation and mitigation policy. Failure to acknowledge the
gender dimension of climate change will increase negligence
and reduced participation in climate change adaptation that
could collapse the basic structure of society where the impact
would spread out nationally and globally.
‘A gender perspective should be integrated into all disaster risk
management policies, plans and decision-making processes,
including those related to risk assessment, early warning,
information management, and education and training’ - Hyogo
Framework for Action.
Bangladesh is the most vulnerable country in the world to tropical
cyclones and the sixth most vulnerable country to floods.
Bangladesh has been ranked as the third most vulnerable in the
world to sea level rise in terms of the number of people affected.
During 1991-2000---- 93 large scale natural disaster--- total kill
0.2 million people and property loss---- 59 billion dollar (only
considering agricultural and infrastructure sector).
Bangladesh is one of the country most susceptible to negative
impacts of climate change (IPCC).
Climate change will magnify existing inequalities, reinforcing the
disparity between women and men in their vulnerability to and
capability to cope with climate change (UNDP, 2007).
Women suffer climate impacts more than men- they are also
integral to solutions (Kapoor, 2011).
The overall objective of the study is to provide
suggestion on climate change adaptation strategies
form a gender perspective. The specific objectives of
the study are as follows:
To explore the gender dimension of vulnerability due
to climate change associated events and extremes.
To suggest climate change adaptation and mitigation
strategies from a gender perspective.
Development of Vulnerability Assessment Matrix
The study developed a matrix
framework to assess gender
Vulnerability has been assessed in
terms of ‘exposure’, ‘sensitivity’
and ‘adaptive capacity’ as defined
by IPCC using a scale of 0~3.
The primary idea of the vulnerability assessment has been
derived from the concept of Sustainable Livelihood
Framework and Harvard Gender Analytical Framework.
The primary equation of vulnerability assessment is :
“V (vulnerability) = E (exposure) x S (sensitivity) / A
Findings: Vulnerability Assessment Matrix Framework for
gender community (women) – Gabura union
Summary of Vulnerability Assessment of Gender
community (Gabura, Padmapukur and Dakhin Bedkashi)
Exposure Sensitivity Adaptive capacity
1.9 1.89 1.23 1.14 1.1 1.8 0.83 0.74 0.98 2.6 2.7 2.26
2.53 2.56 2.61
2.3 2.12 2.3 2.05 1.8 2.35 1.79 1.5 1.83 2.6 2.54 2.95
The vulnerability score for women of Gabura is 2.53,
Padmapukur is 2.56 and Dakhin Bedkashi is 2.61. This
implies that, women respondents from Dakhin Bedkashi
perceive them as more vulnerable comparing to that of
Gabura and Padmapukur.
Respondents from Gabura and Padmapukur unions
perceived themselves more vulnerable to climate change
associated gradual changes or climate change events (2.63
and 2.70 respectively) whereas respondents from Dakhin
Bedkashi union identified themselves more vulnerable to
climate change induced sudden disasters or climate
change extremes (2.95).
Interestingly, respondents from all the three study areas
identified that their adaptive capacity against climate change
associated gradual change or climate change events is
relatively lower than climate change induced sudden
This implies that Bangladesh has achieved some remarkable
success in disaster preparedness and post disaster response-
rehabilitation programs but significantly lacks in resources
and experiences against ongoing gradual climate changes.
The findings shows that, careful attention and proper
designing is needed before taking adaptation and mitigation
programs for such climate vulnerable areas, otherwise
intervention could negatively affect the community.
Recommendations for gender just climate change
adaptation and mitigation
Incorporating simplified gender responsive language in the
national adaptation policy.
Women’s triple roles – productive, reproductive and
community managed activity should be properly acknowledged
in policy documents.
Formulation of national gender policy.
Establishment of a core group that will lead gender
Establishment of gender disaggregated baseline and gender
Nationwide awareness program on gender equality and gender
specific capacity building both horizontally and vertically.
Recommendations for gender just climate change
adaptation and mitigation (cont.)
Proper gendering of adaptation strategies must be ensured
Academic curriculum need to be modified with up-to-date
climate change related information. Educational institutions
should be the starting point for gender mainstreaming.
Empowerment of youth age community to take the lead role in
future climate proofing activity.
Proper linkage among organizations and stakeholders ensuring
equal access and involvement of women.
Gender just governance should be enabled.
‘Bottom up – top support” institutional framework is highly
recommended for gender just climate change adaptation where
focus should be shifted to ‘development plus’ strategies and
Bottom up- top support institutional framework
Women are critical actor of change and up-bringer of future
The success of climate change adaptation will only then
become justifiable when gender just policy will lead way for
equitable development intervention.
The study developed a vulnerability assessment framework
to enhance improved and informed decision making along
with an institutional framework for gender mainstreaming in
climate change adaptation and mitigation- that might prove
beneficial for future climate change associated intervention.