Climate Change and Gender in South Sudan
Organization: The Sudd Institute
Type: Special Reports
Climate change poses global risks (World Economic Forum, 2016, IPCC, 2014). These risks adversely affect women in developing countries because of their little capacity to adapt (Brody et al, 2008). Previous studies show that women are more vulnerable to climate change than men for a variety of reasons, including illiteracy, low socioeconomic skills, inadequate access to assets, and social isolation, among others (Ahmad and Fajber, 2009; Archer 2003; UNISDR, 2008; Neumayer and Plumper, 2007). Thus, if empowered, women can contribute significantly to climate change adaptation and mitigation.
Limited understanding exists on climate change gender impact disparity in South Sudan. Using literature and empirical data, we find that in South Sudan:
- Women are at the lower rung of social hierarchy, which produces imbalances that highly expose them to climate change disasters,
- Women have less resilience assets, rely more on natural resources, have high rate of illiteracy, low skills and low access to professional employment, which make them more vulnerable to climate change calamities than men, and
- Households headed by females are more vulnerable to disasters such as famine.
We recommend to the government and partners to:
- Prioritize technical capacity building within key government institutions to be able to mainstream climate change and gender equality measures.
- Design policies that equally empower women and men to become resilient to climate change impacts.
- Build climate data infrastructure to inform gender equality and climate change policies and plans.
Nyathon James Hoth Mai is a visiting fellow at the Sudd Institute. She has a BSc in Geology from the University of Ballarat, Victoria, Australia, and an MSc in Global Energy and Climate Policy from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. She is also an independent Researcher and policy analyst. Her research interest areas include: Geology, climate change and energy policy, and issues affecting South Sudanese women. In addition, Nyathon was the Co-founder and Managing Director of My Referendum for Freedom (MRF) that actively engaged the South Sudanese youth from all over South Sudan and diaspora as a vehicle for civic education to the rest of the populace during the South Sudan Referendum. She also devoted much of her time to South Sudan community development in Australia.
Jok Madut Jok is cofounder of the Sudd Institute. Born and raised in Sudan, Jok studied in Egypt and the United States. He is trained in the anthropology of health and holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Jok recently joined the Government of South Sudan as undersecretary in the Ministry of Culture and Heritage. He was a J. Randolph Senior Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace and a fellow at the Rift Valley Institute. He is a Professor in the Department of History at Loyola Marymount University in California, from which he is on an extended leave. He has also worked in aid and development, first as a humanitarian aid worker and has been a consultant for a number of aid agencies. He is the author of three books and numerous articles covering gender, sexuality and reproductive health, humanitarian aid, ethnography of political violence, gender-based violence, war and slavery, and the politics of identity in Sudan. His book Sudan: Race, Religion and Violence, was published in 2007. Jok is co-editor of The Sudan Handbook, 2010.
Nhial Tiitmamer is Programme Manager for environmental, energy and natural resources research and as well the Institute’s Focal Point on Building Resilience and Adaptation to Climate Extremes and Disasters (BRACED), a climate change resilience programme being implemented in South Sudan by a consortium composed of The Sudd Institute and five international organizations. Nhial holds a Bachelor’s Degree and a Master of Science in Environmental Studies and Sustainable Energy from the Universities of Alberta and Calgary in Canada where he spent stints as an environmental consultant and research associate in environmental studies. Nhial is the co-founder of the NewSudanVision.com and has extensively commented and written on issues about South Sudan.