Vulnerability of Ghanaian women cocoa farmers to climate change: a typology

Authors Friedman, R.; Hirons, M.; Boyd, E.
Year of Publication 2018
Type of Publication Journal Article
Journal Climate and Development
Open Access No


Climate change, increasingly recognized as a hurdle to achieving sustainable development goals, has already begun impacting the lives and livelihoods of people around the world, including on the African continent. Vulnerability is a concept often employed in the context of climate change to identify risks and develop policy and adaptation measures that address current and projected impacts. However, it is situated in a broader social context, driven by factors such as land tenure and access, livelihood diversification, and empowerment, which single out historically marginalized groups like women. This paper applies a vulnerability framework to a case study of cocoa farming in the Central Region of Ghana, depicting not only the variety of factors contributing to climate change vulnerability but also different narratives on vulnerability that emerge based on a woman’s relation to cocoa production itself. The paper conveys how homogeneous representations of women farmers and the technical focus of climate-orientated policy interventions may threaten to further marginalize the most vulnerable and exacerbate existing inequalities. This has implications for both climate change policy design and implementation, as well as the broader social development agenda that has bearing on vulnerability.