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Gender and climate policy: a discursive institutional analysis of Ethiopia’s climate resilient strategy

Mersha, Azeb Assefa, van Laerhoven, Frank
Regional environmental change 2019 v.19 no.2 pp. 429-440
climate, climate change, environmental policy, forests, gender, interviews, livelihood, nationalities and ethnic groups, Ethiopia
Applying a discursive institutional analysis, we aim to explain the interaction among policy actors and the influence thereof on the extent to which adaptation policy in response to climate change becomes gender responsive. The empirical basis of our study regards Ethiopia’s Climate Resilient Strategy for Agriculture and Forest. Data was collected using policy document review and semi-structured interviews with policy actors. We establish that the policy and strategy documents fail to explicitly address gender dimensions of climate change problems and the proposed adaptation responses are often limited to using ‘gender neutral’ language. Analysis of interaction among policy actors points to factors that account for these findings. Lack of extensive discussion on the gender dimension of climate problems and adaptation responses emanates from limited participation by policy actors with an explicit gender agenda, limited conceptual and analytical capacity to unpack gender and the perception of the gender dimension as an issue of implementation. Thus, we conclude that there is a need to improve our understanding of factors that hinder or facilitate the emergence of gender-responsive climate change policies. In order to explicitly address gender, policy interaction discourses, including the represented actors, the interaction and the institutional setting, should be critically examined from a gender perspective. This special focus on gender should go accompanied by an analysis of and attention for the broader social dimension of climate policies that also includes categories such as ethnicity, age, localities and livelihoods, as well as their interplay.