Webinar: Gender inequalities in social protection – people, households and climate adaptation


IIED hosted an online discussion on the role of social protection schemes and how they can incorporate climate-resilience objectives and respond to the different needs of women and men.

14 May 2020
Three people gather around a wooden table on which papers are stacked

Cash transfer payments in Freetown, Sierra Leone, 2015 (Photo: Dominic Chavez/World Bank via FlickrCC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Climate risks place a heavy burden on many households in developing countries, with basic needs such as food, water and shelter threatened. Some people and households finance adaptative measures by using savings and capitalising assets, taking loans from banks and private lenders, while others might receive support from social protection schemes.

This event on 2 April 2020 explored the role of social protection schemes and how they can incorporate climate-resilience objectives and respond to the different needs of women and men.

Women and men in developing countries face diverse challenges in their responses to the impacts of a changing climate. Not only do they need short-term coping mechanisms, but in the long term, they must adapt to a new way of life. For households this may mean more expensive seeds, food, machinery or travel to a different place for work.

As not all households are the same, we cannot assume that dual-headed households bear a similar burden to those headed only by women, or that within a household, women and men’s challenges are alike.

This event explored how these households respond to climate risks. What strategies do women and men deploy, and at what cost? Where there are social protection schemes, are climate-resilience objectives accounted for?

Event coverage

Our expert panel reflected on examples from Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Mozambique and elsewhere, and discussed what is needed to move beyond a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to social protection and develop an approach that responds to the differential needs and priorities of women and men, and in so doing, achieve gender equality and a model that works for all.

The webinar was chaired by Susannah Fisher, head of research at Climate-Kic. It included two question-and-answer sessions with the online audience.

Read our full report on this event

You can see a video recording of the complete event below, including the question-and-answer session with webinar participants, and on IIED's YouTube channel.

You can view the slides to accompany the speaker presentations via the links below:

About the speakers

Susannah Fisher (chair) is an applied researcher working on the politics and governance of climate change. As the head of research at Climate-KIC, she leads a cross-cutting research and thought leadership portfolio on the role of innovation and policy experimentation in the systems change needed to address the urgent climate challenge.

Janna Tenzing is a researcher in IIED's climate change research group. Her research focuses on issues related to climate finance and gender equality and on the role of social protection in reducing structural vulnerability to climate change in the least developed countries.

Shaikh Eskander is an applied economist specialising in environmental and development economics. He is a visiting research fellow at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Department for Geography and Environment at the London School of Economics. He co-authored the IIED report 'Bearing the climate burden: how households in Bangladesh are spending too much'.

Simon Anderson is a senior fellow at IIED. His work focuses on gender equality, issues of sustainable development universality and monitoring and evaluation for learning. Simon is co-chair of IIED’s gender equality champions network. Prior to IIED, he worked at DFID’s central research and evaluation department.

Tracy Kajumba is a principal researcher in IIED's climate change research group. Tracy leads the strategic direction and implementation of work addressing gender inequality, social exclusion and climate justice, supporting monitoring, evaluation and learning for adaptation and fostering spaces for learning

About the critical theme series

IIED’s critical theme events create a space for conversation and debate on key and current sustainable development issues. Through the convening of expert speakers and external stakeholders, IIED aims to share information, inform audiences and facilitate discussions on the imaginative solutions needed to solve global challenges.

The seminars cover a wide range of speakers and topics. Previous events have looked at 'Small-scale farming and the future of the European food system’, ‘How can inclusive finance accelerate universal energy access?’ and, most recently ‘Can China help build a global eco-civilisation?’.


Juliette Tunstall ([email protected]), internal engagement and external events officer, IIED's Communications Group