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Climate Change, Disease and Gender Gaps in Human Capital Investment

In: Women and Sustainable Human Development


  • Belinda Archibong

    (Barnard College)

  • Francis Annan

    (Georgia State University)


The goal of this chapter is to examine the role of climate-induced disease in widening the gender gap in human capital investment. This chapter reviews the literature on climate change, disease and gender gaps, and highlights evidence from a particular disease context—the meningitis belt in sub-Saharan Africa. It provides evidence that changes in the seasonal climate, through the dry season or Harmattan period, are strongly associated with meningitis epidemics in the region. It discusses results from research on the role of Niger’s 1986 meningitis epidemic in reducing girls’ education relative to boys. It highlights the income effects of the epidemic and, specifically, early marriage of girls in exchange for a bride price as a primary mechanism driving the results. The findings underline the need for more research on the interaction between climate change, health and education and gender equality, all major parts of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Suggested Citation

  • Belinda Archibong & Francis Annan, 2020. "Climate Change, Disease and Gender Gaps in Human Capital Investment," Gender, Development and Social Change, in: Maty Konte & Nyasha Tirivayi (ed.), Women and Sustainable Human Development, chapter 0, pages 15-35, Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:gdechp:978-3-030-14935-2_2
    DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-14935-2_2

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