Resilient Rural Women: A Guide to Knowledge Resources
Rural women are at the forefront of climate shocks and stresses. They are among the most impacted by climate change and face multiple limitations that affect their ability to adapt to a changing environment. For example:
- Rural women’s livelihoods tend to depend on natural resources and agriculture, which are particularly exposed to shocks and a changing climate.
- Tasks traditionally undertaken by girls or women, such as fetching water or firewood, are becoming more difficult and time-consuming due to climate change. Traveling farther and to unfamiliar areas exposes women and girls to abuse and keeps them away from more beneficial activities, including homework.
- Social norms tend to restrict rural women’s choices and mobility, limiting their options in climate adaptation. For example, social norms might prevent rural women from commuting to the city or taking up salaried work in male-dominated sectors.
- Rural women remain underserved by financial and agricultural service providers; only 7 percent of global investments in agriculture reach women.
While the challenges may seem daunting, rural women are also part of the solution, as they drive adaptation and build resilience. Advancing rural women’s financial inclusion can provide concrete opportunities to contribute both to climate adaptation and gender equity.
In fact, developing financial solutions for rural women intersects with multiple development priorities, most importantly climate action, agriculture, food security and gender equity. However, few development projects for rural women incorporate these themes. A better understanding of rural women’s financial behavior - as well as innovations in the use of data and the integration of financial services in digital agricultural platforms - is needed to reveal new opportunities for working at the intersection of financial inclusion, gender equity and climate change.
What is the purpose of this guide and how can it be used?
This guide points readers to relevant resources that shed light on rural women’s exposure to climate change and emerging solutions that help them adapt and build their resilience. Its readers will be better equipped to make the case for investing in rural women. The guide can be used in many ways, for example:
- Staff from development agencies or implementers can use the resources to make the case as to why their institution should dedicate resources to find solutions for rural women. They will also find tools that help them identify opportunities and examples of what other institutions have done.
- Financial service providers, agritech and fintech companies will find research on the specific needs of rural women and results from different approaches to better serve this target group.
- Policymakers and advocacy organizations can use the research to raise awareness about rural women’s exposure to climate change and advocate for policies that consider their needs.