Gender in Agriculture Partnership

Transforming agriculture to empower women and deliver food, nutrition and income security

Patriarchy in climate change narratives

Patriarchy in climate change narratives

What if some climate change projects and policies contribute to causing more inequalities? 

When we hear about gender and climate change, we are often told that the impacts of climate change such as shifting rainfall patterns and more frequent droughts and floods are likely to deepen existing gender inequalities.

In a rural community of the so-called ‘dry-corridor’ of Nicaragua, all 32 women and men I interviewed answered “yes” to the following question: “have you heard about something called climate change?” This was not surprising to me since the communities in this region have long been the focus of the attention of aid agencies. Therefore, its inhabitants have been trained on a variety of environmental topics, including climate change.

So what is climate change for you?

What surprised me, however, is the extent to which the answers of the community members to my question ,“So, what is climate change for you?” were not about climatic changes. Indeed, typical responses were:

“This cooking stove is from climate change”.

“[Climate change?] Sure! The one who participates is my husband”.

“You know Juan, the guy you met who rides a motorbike? He is from climate change. He is the project technician.”

The community inhabitants relate climate change with the benefits, the activities or the local facilitator of the climate change adaptation project they are participating in. Concerning shifting rainfalls, people often repeated what they were told by the project facilitator and not what they experienced. One man shared that it was an NGO that “in 2009 brought climate change here”.

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