Authors: Joanes Atela, Kate Elizabeth Gannon, and Florence Crick
This paper looks into ways in which female-led enterprises can be made more resilient to climate change while in turn contributing to household and societal adaptation. Overally the paper argues that women-led businesses can strategically contribute to societal resilience due the women’s role in supporting household livelihoods and having close experience with the climate vulnerabilities. However, strong socio-cultural orientations around gender roles and resource use and access not only confine female-led MSMEs to sectors that experience higher exposure to climate risk – most notably agriculture. Additionally, the social exclusions trigger more pronounced barriers to building resilience within their businesses, including reduced access to land, capital, markets, new technology, and educational opportunities. Consequently, female entrepreneurs may pursue unsustainable forms of coping, as part of which business activity is scaled back through reduced profits, loss of business, and the sale of valuable business assets. Such strategies may help enterprises to cope in the short term but may undermine longer-term MSME adaptive capacity. The paper concludes that supporting the adaptive capacity of women in business should be a policy priority towards building societal resilience n line with SDG goal Number 8 ‘Climate Action’.
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