This paper argues that the ability of women to adapt to climate change pressures will be enhanced by using the ‘capabilities approach’ to direct development efforts. By using this approach, women will improve their well-being, and act more readily as agents of change within their communities. This argument is supported by previous research on gender and livelihoods, and a study conducted in rural India. Examples are based on the experiences of poor, rural women in India, who are particularly vulnerable to climate change impacts. Their survival is dependent on their being able to obtain many essential resources from their immediate environment. Yet these women lack many of the requirements for well-being, such as access to healthcare, literacy, and control over their own lives. Gaining these would reduce their vulnerability to their changing environmental circumstances.
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