The purpose of this thesis is to understand how socio-cultural dynamics make women feel more vulnerable to climate change and natural hazards. The impacts and magnitude of climate change are not known. It is well recognized that climate change is not gender neutral. This thesis focuses on disadvantages and challenges that women face in terms of socio-cultural dynamics that may not give them equal access to resources and services that are necessary to respond to the negative effects of climate change and natural hazards. In order to come up with sustainable solutions to climate change and natural hazards, it is important to address gender dimensions, recognizing the fact than women and men have different needs and priorities. It is important that processes address the needs of both men and women. In many societies, women considered one of the most vulnerable and economically disadvantaged group, deal with several social constraints in their everyday lives that restrict their access to and control over vital resources. This research therefore, aims to understand how socio-cultural dynamics make women feel more vulnerable to climate change and natural hazards. The study also assumes that socio-cultural dynamics may also have indirect effect on vulnerability perception via influencing individual's socio-economic status, which is conceptualised as a combination of education, employment and income. Socio-cultural dynamics, socio-economic status and vulnerability perception are the key concepts in this research. To measure these concepts in quantifiable units, they were operationalised into variables and then indicators based on various definitions. The study was conducted in 28 slums of Indore city in India where an equal number of male and female respondents were selected on the basis of a stratified random sampling. The study used a survey strategy to conduct the research because of large number of research units. Primary data was collected thorough questionnaires which included questions about the respondents socio-cultural context, socio-economic status and vulnerability perceptions. The data obtained was translated into SPSS and several statistical tests which included t-tests and regression, in order to compare the differences between men and women and to see the influence of socio-cultural dynamics and socio-economic status on vulnerability perception, were conducted. While socio-cultural dynamics, conceptualised as a combination of freedom on mobility, decision making power in the household, burden of household responsibilities and age of marriage, was found to be significantly influencing vulnerability perception, making women feel more vulnerable to men with burden of household responsibilities as the variable influencing vulnerability perception the most, socio-economic status when included in this model was not found to be a significant predictor of variations in vulnerability perception. However, this could be also because of the measurement approaches used for the variables of socio-economic status. The research concludes that socio-cultural dynamics significantly differentiates vulnerability perceptions of men and women. And in order to create unbiased and sustainable responses to climate change and natural hazards, it is important to include local people in vulnerability assessments to understand their differing needs. While socio-cultural dynamics is critical domain where more research is required, the need for gender segregated data is strongly apparent.

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D' Acci, L. (Luca)
Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies

Joshi, C. (Charu). (2016, September). Gender analysis of climate change and natural hazard related vulnerability perception. Retrieved from