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Gender Differences in Climate Change Risk, Food Security and Adaptation: A Study of Rural Households’ Reliance on Agriculture and Natural Resources to Sustain Livelihoods

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  • B. Tibesigwa, M. Visser, L. Hunter, M. Collinson and W. Twine

Abstract

Climate and weather variability in sub-Saharan Africa disproportionately leave female-headed households food insecure. However, the extent and reasons for these gender differences are, thus far, not well understood. This study examines gender-food-climate connections using longitudinal data from rural households in north-eastern South Africa. Results confirm gender distinctions in that male-headed households are more food secure. Importantly, however, female-headed households are not a homogenous group. Participation in agriculture and utilisation of natural resources narrows the male-female consumption gap to 10.3% amongst de jure female-headed households – those with female heads who are single, widowed, divorced, or separated. Yet, these land-based practices are associated with a greater male-female gap (27.4%) amongst de facto female-headed households – married female heads who are married, but whose husbands are away. Further, and contrary to expectation, weather-related crop failure threatens food security in both male- and female-headed households, but less so amongst de facto female-headed households, who remain more dependent on remittances.

Suggested Citation

  • B. Tibesigwa, M. Visser, L. Hunter, M. Collinson and W. Twine, 2015. "Gender Differences in Climate Change Risk, Food Security and Adaptation: A Study of Rural Households’ Reliance on Agriculture and Natural Resources to Sustain Livelihoods," Working Papers 545, Economic Research Southern Africa.
  • Handle: RePEc:rza:wpaper:545
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    File URL: http://www.econrsa.org/node/1123
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    Cited by:

    1. Flatø, Martin & Muttarak, Raya & Pelser, André, 2017. "Women, Weather, and Woes: The Triangular Dynamics of Female-Headed Households, Economic Vulnerability, and Climate Variability in South Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 41-62.
    2. repec:eee:wdevel:v:115:y:2019:i:c:p:132-144 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Gender; climate change; subsistence farming; natural resources; food security; adaptation; livelihoods;

    JEL classification:

    • Q12 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Micro Analysis of Farm Firms, Farm Households, and Farm Input Markets
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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