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Gender and climate change linkages in the semi-arid region of Ghana


Climate change is projected to have a serious impact on all sectors of the world. The agriculture sector is one of the most vulnerable sectors with implications for smallholder farmers in semi-arid regions of Africa in terms of poverty and food security. Several researches have been carried out on perception and adaptation with a little investigation to unpack the gender differences and how this influence adaptation strategies. This research investigates gender difference and gender-specific adaptation strategies to climate change and variability. A household survey was conducted from August to December 2014 using a pre-tested questionnaire where 150 males and 150 female farmers were randomly sampled from 14 communities within the Bolgatanga Municipality and Bongo district. Results show the existence of gender differences in the adaptation strategies. Both gender groups perceived climatic change and variability but only 49% male and 40% female headed household (HH) have adopted strategies to cope with increasing temperatures while 56% male and 49% female have adapted to decreasing precipitation. On the other hand, 62% male and 60% female HH have adapted to increasing drought spells. The main differences between male and female adaptation strategies are that males prefer to migrate and seek employment in other parts of the country whereas females prefer to engage in off-farm jobs such as trading, basketry and shea-butter processing. The age of farmers, access to extension services, credit, perceived loss of soil fertility, among other factors influenced farmers adaptation strategies. Policy decisions to promote adaptation to climate change and variability should take these factors into consideration.

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(Source: Ghana Meteorological Agency 2014)

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(Source: Ghana Meteorological Agency 2014)

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Data availability

Data can be made available upon request from funders.

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Not applicable.


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The authors wish to express their profound gratitude to the West African Science Service Centre on Climate Change and Adapted Land use (WASCAL) through the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) for providing financial support for this research. Our profound gratitude also goes to Dr. Grace Villamor for her constructive advice, to Mr. Aaron Aduna of WASCAL Ghana and Mr. Christopher Abotisum for assisting in the data collection.


This research was funded by the West African Science Service Centre on Climate Change and Adapted Land use (WASCAL) through the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

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Authors and Affiliations



MM and PLGV designed the research and developed the questionnaire, MM collected the data, MM and FMBY analyzed the data, and MM and FMBY drafted the manuscript, PLGV and FMBY reviewed and edited the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript. BFM is the corresponding author.

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Correspondence to Benedicta Y. Fosu-Mensah.

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The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.

Informed consent

Permission was sought from the chiefs and elders of the communities before the commencement of the study. The respondents were informed about the study and their consent sought before interviews were conducted. Participation in the interview was voluntary. Researchers and the respondents were not exposed to any form of psychological and physical risk.

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Mensah, M., Vlek, P.L.G. & Fosu-Mensah, B.Y. Gender and climate change linkages in the semi-arid region of Ghana. GeoJournal 87, 363–376 (2022).

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  • Climate change
  • Adaptation
  • Perception
  • Gender
  • Household