Who Reaps what is Sown? A Feminist Inquiry into Climate Change Adaptation in Two Mexican Ejidos

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This paper highlights the ways in which relations of power, specifically those of gender, shape knowledge production, resource distribution, decision-making and thus, adaptation to climate change. I utilize feminist standpoint theory and geographic conceptualizations of social reproduction to argue that policies and programs that seek to enhance adaptation to climate change must understand how gender affects differential access to resources and decision-making in the context of climate variability. Specifically, I argue that situated knowledge and social reproduction are useful conceptual tools for analyzing how women’s daily activities and social locations shape what they know and how they respond to social and environmental stressors like drought. In making this argument, I present the results of fieldwork conducted in two rural communities in Mexico’s semi-arid highlands to empirically explore the significance of gender in the production of knowledge, provisioning of resources, and the different ways that households adapt to climate change. This kind of critical engagement between feminist and adaptive capacity approaches opens up a conceptual space for reflection and encounters that move the debates closer toward addressing the challenges that climate change presents.

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