Why women are footing the bill for climate: lessons from Bangladesh


This webinar explored the intersection of climate and gender inequality and the financial burden of climate adaptation on women.

Last updated 26 May 2022
Two women walk along a ridge alongside an expanse of water.

Women walking by a pond in Khulna, Bangladesh. The damage to crops and fish ponds resulted in many residents losing their jobs (Photo: Felix Clay/Duckrabbit via Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Over the past decade, more than two billion people around the world have been impacted by climate-related disasters. Exposure to climate risks causes considerable damage to the assets and livelihood opportunities for many households. The associated financial burden disproportionally impacts people, particularly women, living in climate-vulnerable places.

Reflecting on the findings of a new study on household expenditure in Bangladesh, this IIED Debates event explored the intersection of climate and gender inequality and what is needed to alleviate the financial burden of climate adaptation.

Climate-related disasters such as storms, cyclones, floods, droughts and extreme heat or extreme cold put millions of lives at risk each year. The number of people affected by these climate events has more than tripled since the 1970s.

Exposure to these climate risks causes considerable damage to household assets and livelihood opportunities. In response, many households adopt private defence measures, investing their own resources in climate-disaster prevention. The financial burden of these adaptation measures disproportionately impact people and places that are more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, particularly women.

At this IIED Debates event, hosted in partnership with UNDP, Kingston University and the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD), we explored the exposure and expenditure of rural households on climate change.

Drawing on the findings from a new study focused on households in Bangladesh, the speakers demonstrated how women and men are impacted and the social, economic and cultural factors influencing the scale of financial burden.

What are the challenges faced by households and what opportunities are there to alleviate the burden? What lessons from the study can we use to influence policy and decision making and what is the role for governments, development banks and donor organisations?

About the speakers

  • Saleemul Huq (moderator) is the director of ICCCAD in Bangladesh, and is an expert on the links between climate change and sustainable development, particularly from the perspective of developing countries
  • Maliha Muzammil is a climate finance expert at UNDP Bangladesh and a research fellow in the Environment and Society Programme at Chatham House
  • Shaikh Eskander is a senior lecturer (assistant professor) of economics at Kingston University London and a visiting research fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science
  • Anne T. Kuriakose is a senior social development specialist at the World Bank’s South Asia regional department
  • Other speakers TBC

Event coverage

A recording of the event is available below or on IIED's YouTube channel, where viewers are also able to use timestamps to go straight to specific speakers.

About IIED Debates

This event is part of the IIED Debates series. Through the convening of expert speakers and external stakeholders, IIED brings together an international community to discuss critical issues.

IIED Debates encompass both physical and digital events, including critical themes, breakfast debriefs and webinars. These events are public and are hosted regularly throughout the year online and when possible in our London and Edinburgh offices.

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