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Reducing vulnerability of women affected by climate change through viable livelihood options.

Executive Summary

Women are more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and disasters than men. This has been documented in various studies, but there has not been a specific quantitative and qualitative study in Bangladesh to look at this specific issue. This baseline study looks at issues for women and men in households from coastal, flood prone and drought prone zones, with two sites in each zone.

The results reinforce studies from other countries that women face more difficulties when exposed to climate change and disasters. This ranges from basic indicators where women and women headed households have more poverty, less access to decision making and less ownership and control over assets. In the context of these study sites women have received very little training on economic livelihood activities and have a low awareness of climate change and/or disasters. There is very little diversification in the main areas of their productive work which focuses on poultry, livestock and household gardening. Women and girls also have lower rates of education and are more likely to be pulled from school in times of disaster.

Women practice various forms of self-sacrifice which they see as in the family interest, such as taking less quality and quantity of food. They are less likely to go to a medical centre for their health issues. This creates a vicious cycle as women remain the most vulnerable when they are not as well and continue to carry an unequal burden of household tasks and the care of family members.

The recommendations for this report point to the need for disaster risk reduction and climate change to address the inequalities in the household and the community to lesson women’s vulnerability. It is only when women have more quality in access to execution, income, assets and resources, health, education and decision making that their roles in disasters and climate change can move from those of victim of that of active leaders and change makers.

Women have much to contribute to the discussions and the practical solutions for climate change adaptation, and they are well placed to take on these roles, but they face many barriers that lead to their vulnerability. This report looks at some practical measures included in disasters and climate change training interventions which will provide resources and knowledge to make this shift. This ranges from diversification of livelihood training; household and community education on the need for education and health equity; increased awareness of disaster preparedness and how to develop a plan that addresses gender equity in household responses and recovery; improved early warning system information channels to women; and various other mechanisms that address individual, household and community responses.

Recent Projects
Socio-Economic and Environmental Baseline Survey on Wildlife Conservation in Sundarban Impact Zones
Sundarbans Climate Change Adaptation, Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Development –Baseline Survey.
Reducing vulnerability of women affected by climate change through viable livelihood options.
Knowledge and Attitude Survey on Wildlife Conservation in Sundarbans Impact Zones- Baseline Survey
Support to Assist Landless, Marginal and Small Farmers to Overcome Soaring Input and Food Prices in Impoverished Areas of Bangladesh.
Ecosystem-based Approaches to Adaptation (EbA): Strengthening the Evidence and Informing Policy Project in Bangladesh (IIED-BCAS-BMUB)
Strategic research on coastal agriculture and livestock development for policy advocacy with Honorable Members of Parliament (BCAS-PRODIP)
Summary of Air Dispersion Modelling of the proposed power plant at Patenga, Chittagong, Bangladesh

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