Examining the Outcomes of Urban Adaptation Interventions on Gender Equality Using SDG 5

Divya Susan Solomona, Chandni Singh, Farjana Islamc | 2021 


Characterized by inequalities along gender, income, caste, and ethnic differences, urban areas are especially vulnerable to climate risks. Recognizing this, cities are adapting through infrastructural, ecosystem-based, institutional, and behavioural interventions at multiple scales. However, the extent to which these interventions enable or constrain the achievement of specific Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) remains unclear. Using a systematic review, we evaluate the impacts of urban adaptation options on SDG 5 (gender equality), This review highlights that the urban adaptation literature tends to focus inordinately on women’s differential (and additional) vulnerability to climate risks with limited evidence on the gendered outcomes of adaptation interventions. We find that although some adaptations such as urban agriculture interventions unequivocally increase agency for women, early warning systems and building risk awareness through public messaging showed mixed effects, with the outcomes depending on the implementation of the intervention and socio-cultural context. Further, the analysis indicates that adaptations such as urban agriculture can positively impact agency but, may show negative interactions with other indicators such as women’s paid and unpaid work. We also identify key knowledge gaps and reflect on expanding the scope of SDG 5 to take a more intersectional and relational approach to gender equality.