Equity: The Missing Link to Address Gender Inequalities in Climate Change Adaptation



What are the gender inequalities in emerging adaptation efforts and programs in key systems of the Eastern Africa sub-regions (Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Uganda)?


Equity takes into account each individuals unique circumstances and allocates the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome. By placing equity front and centre when designing policies, practices and interventions, adaptation can be made effective and empower all equally. This would make adaptation to climate change a transformative agenda, not just an instrumental act (Cornwall 2015). As the first step in a successful transformation (Farnworth and Colverson, 2015), planners and decision-makers need to understand the underlying drivers of inequity and how they make specific groups such as women, men, poor, ethnic and the disabled vulnerable to climate change. Research on gender and climate adaptation has identified three underlying drivers (Jerneck 2017).

What next?

Adaptation measures that do not consider drivers of inequality are likely to exacerbate social injustice and inequalities, which in themselves make adaptation less effective or even counterproductive. Initiatives by governments, NGOs, communities etc. that apply an equity lens better enable women, youth and ethnic groups to implement effective adaptation strategies to climate change. Therefore, governments should examine the impacts of climate change through the gender and equity lens to address key barriers to gender-responsive climate actions, and increase the roles that women play in decision-making to close such vulnerability gaps.


Cornwall A, Rivas A-M (2015) From ‘gender equality and ‘women’s empowerment’ to global justice: reclaiming a transformative agenda for gender and development. Third World Q 36(2):396–415



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🌍🛰️ Climate Services, early warnings and Earth Observation for Sustainable Development in Eastern Africa.