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Abstracts of dissertations

Gendered Vulnerabilities and Adaptabilities to Climate Change in Kampala City, Uganda
Buyana, Kareem;

Marrianne Cooper
Sociology, School of Humanities and Sciences
Stanford University, CA

Year of completion 2013

language of dissertation English

  • gender
  • climate change
  • vulnerability
  • adaptation
Areas of Research
  • Regional and Urban Development
  • Regional and Urban Development
  • Environment and Society
Studies on gender and climate change have argued that women’s level of vulnerability is higher than that of men due to their reliance on rain-fed agriculture and natural resources to perform their domestic and commercial roles. The question then is: how do the social forms of our sex differences shape vulnerability in developing city regions where non-agricultural sectors are largely the key means of sustenance? And what options can be chosen for not only sustained but also equal enhancement of adaptation capacity amongst women as compared to men? The investigation of these questions was grounded in two theoretical strands: i) urban feminism (which traces women’s self-efficacy in relation to the patriarchal formation and evolution of cities); and ii) feminist research methodology (which focuses on the centrality of uncovering women’s lived experiences to learn about and analyze urban social relations and the implications on sustainability). Through extensive review of literature, a gender-disaggregated household survey and five (5) separate-sex focus group discussions, the study found out that climatic impacts Kampala city mainly include prolonged dry spells, erratic heavy rains and seasonal floods, which destroy physical infrastructure, expose households to environmental health hazards, contaminate air and water sources and lead to unprecedented spread of cholera and malaria. These climatic impacts on one hand, do worsen gender imbalances in access and control over resources in different urban sectors while on the other; gender imbalances do aggravate the impacts of climate change at neighborhood scale. The study concluded that this inverse connection between gender and climatic impacts requires sector-specific and gender responsive adaptation planning at city to national level.