Gender and Water in a Changing Climate: Challenges and Opportunities

  • Farhana SultanaEmail author
Part of the Water Security in a New World book series (WSEC)


Climate change is exacerbating existing water insecurity globally, with significant gender consequences. Changes in water availability, access, scarcity and security play critical roles in shaping the ways that individuals, communities and countries are tackling existing and predicted climate change. Although climate change is already increasing vulnerabilities, marginalisation, and sufferings of many across the world, impacts are unevenly felt across social strata. Intersectionalities of social difference, especially along gender and class lines, differentiate the ways in which impacts of climate change are experienced and responded to. This is particularly evident in water-related productive and reproductive tasks, as climate change is expected to exacerbate both ecological degradation (e.g., water shortages) and water-related natural hazards (e.g., floods, cyclones), thereby transforming gender–water geographies. As such, it becomes imperative to undertake multi-scalar, critical and intersectional analyses to better inform both academic debates and policymaking. Heeding gendered implications of climate change is particularly important as patriarchal norms, inequities, and inequalities often place women and men in differentiated positions in their abilities to respond to and cope with dramatic changes in socioecological relations and changing waterscapes, as well as foregrounds the complex ways in which social power relations operate in communal responses to adaptation strategies that are increasingly proliferating globally. This chapter explores the nexus of gender-water-climate change to demonstrate how different groups of people understand, respond to, and cope with variability and uncertainties in a changing climate to reveal the challenges and prospects that exist. ​


Climate change Water insecurity Gender inequality Adaptation strategies Gender vulnerability Socioecological relations 



I thank the editors for inviting me to submit the chapter. This is an adaptation of Sultana, F. 2014, “Gendering Climate Change: Geographical Insights” The Professional Geographer 66(3): 372–381. Reprinted by permission of The American Association of Geographers,


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public AffairsSyracuse UniversityNew YorkUSA

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