Gender and adaptation in the Mahanadi delta: the implications of migration for women’s adaptive capacity

Giorgia Prati
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This multidisciplinary study aims to understand the relationship between women’s adaptive capacity and migration in the Mahanadi delta, India. The growing interest in the climate change-migration nexus has largely focused on understanding how migration patterns may change as a response to climate variability. The feedback process of such response on individuals’ capacity to cope with climate stresses is rarely explored and little is known about its interconnections with gender. Yet, migration and adaptation are not gender-neutral processes. This research seeks to investigate how migration shapes gender and power relationships and how this, in turn, affects women’s adaptive capacity in the home villages. In contrast to traditional approaches which have focused on the binary analysis of men vs. women, this study is innovative in that it takes an intersectionality approach to contextualise vulnerability in the broader spectrum of social identities and hidden forms of oppression in which it is embedded. If we are to understand the differentiated impact, as well as potential, of migration on the adaptive capacity of those who remain behind, then we need to investigate how migration interacts with intersectional inequalities.