Climate Change, Disease and Gender Gaps in Human Capital Investment

Part of the Gender, Development and Social Change book series (GDSC)


The goal of this chapter is to examine the role of climate-induced disease in widening the gender gap in human capital investment. This chapter reviews the literature on climate change, disease and gender gaps, and highlights evidence from a particular disease context—the meningitis belt in sub-Saharan Africa. It provides evidence that changes in the seasonal climate, through the dry season or Harmattan period, are strongly associated with meningitis epidemics in the region. It discusses results from research on the role of Niger’s 1986 meningitis epidemic in reducing girls’ education relative to boys. It highlights the income effects of the epidemic and, specifically, early marriage of girls in exchange for a bride price as a primary mechanism driving the results. The findings underline the need for more research on the interaction between climate change, health and education and gender equality, all major parts of the Sustainable Development Goals.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Barnard CollegeNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Georgia State UniversityAtlantaUSA

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