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Gender and Climate Change in the Hindu Kush Himalayas of Nepal

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B. Bhattarai
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The link between gender issues and climate change is an emerging topic for research and policymaking in Nepal, and documentation so far is quite limited. Climate change is affecting the soil's moisture and the availability of water, which is likely to have a negative impact on food production and increase food insecurity, particularly in poor and marginalised households. Longer periods of drought will also deplete natural resources in terms of quantity and quality. As a result, the collection of water, fuel wood, and fodder - which are typically women's responsibility - will take more time, increasing women's labour. Men, traditionally the ?breadwinners? (or providers), may also bear a lot of pressure when their traditional livelihoods do not ensure food security and they are unable to provide for their families' needs. In Nepal, more and more men are leaving their villages, looking for any kind of employment in the cities or abroad - often having to accept low-paying jobs and living in terrible conditions. Besides the immediate economic hardship, they may face mental and emotional stress. Adaptation strategies therefore need to incorporate a gender perspective, recognise that women and men may face different problems, and pay specific attention to both women's and men's needs in order to reduce their vulnerability and improve their capacity to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change. As such, both women's and men's views and interests need to be taken into account in research, program design, and policy-making.

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