IGS University of Twente
Research group CSTM


Learning from others (pt. 2)

Intersections of gender and marital status in accessing climate change adaptation. Evidence from rural Tanzania

Katrien Van Aelst & Nathalie Holvoet (Institute of Development Policy and Management)

Climate scholars increasingly recognize gender is key in climate change vulnerability, but often dichotomize between men and women as homogeneous categories or limit themselves to comparing male- and female-headed households. We use an intersectionality framework to examine how local farmers’ adaptive strategies are mediated through their gender and marital status in rural Morogoro (Tanzania). Drawing from focus group discussions and using logistic regression to analyze questionnaire data, we compare different adaptive strategies’ adoption rates across married, divorced, widowed and never-married men and women. Our study finds, first, that while women’s access to adaptive strategies depends on their marital status, this is less the case for men. Second, we show that widows and female divorcees are disadvantaged in agricultural water management, while the latter at the same time adopt more non-farm income-earning activities compared to other women. Finally, we find evidence of livelihood diversification at household level, through specialization by individual household members. Based on the empirical evidence we develop a typology to synthesize the linkages between gender, marital status and adaptive strategies; and we subsequently underscore the importance of an intersectionality approach to gender and climate change policy and practice.

Translating women’s rights failures into rights claims in the energy system

Katrine Danielsen and Anouka van Eerdewijk, Royal Tropical Institute (KIT), the Netherlands

KIT Gender has developed a gender and rights based (G&R) approach to energy access as an analytical framework and strategic tool (Danielsen 2012). This approach recognizes access to energy as a right and acknowledges the institutional barriers women face in realizing energy rights due to unequal gender relations. These institutional barriers concern two types of rights failures: the lack of recognition of women’s energy needs, knowledge and contribution, and the unequal distribution of control over energy resources and benefits between women and men. Our approach identifies different governance channels through which claims that strengthen access to energy services can be made.

In this presentation, we position the Gender & Rights approach to energy access against a set of key principles for the institutionalization of gender that KIT has employed across multiple sectors. We then present the key elements of the gender and rights-based approach to energy access. We end with lessons learned on the integration of gender, largely drawing from our work on the institutionalization of gender and rights in agriculture.

Inclusive Innovations: growing women’s small businesses and changing gendered institutions?

Saskia Vossenberg, Center for Frugal Innovation in Africa, Institute of Social Studies (ISS)

This presentation will discuss how a gendered institutional lens may serve as a framework for energy research and practice. We will share lessons that can be learnt from applying a gendered institutional framework to analyze the relationships between ‘inclusive innovations’ that seek to impact women’s small business growth and gendered institutions. Inclusive Innovations are new products, services and created institutions that seek to restructure the entrepreneurial behavior to improve the wellbeing of marginalized members of society, often targeted at women. Illustrated with empirical cases of inclusive innovations in Malawi, we argument the shortcomings of gender blind programming. Raising critical questions about the techno-optimistic narrative found in women’s entrepreneurship development as an untapped source of job supply and trigger of social and economic trade-offs such as economic empowerment. However, applying the framework also suggests that it is too simplistic to conclude that gender blind inclusive innovations cannot not make a difference in women’s lives. ‘Other transformations’ in everyday lives of women can occur and connect change induced by market engagement to gendered institutions. This raises questions about the feminist-pessimistic narratives found in post-structural feminist epistemology on the role of market solutions in transforming gender inequalities.