Gendered Livelihood Vulnerability to Climate Change in Makueni County, Kenya


  • Virginia Muia Department of Environmental Studies and Resources Development, Chuka University. P.O Box, 109-60400, Chuka, Kenya
  • Owuor Opere Institute for Climate Change and Adaptation, University of Nairobi. P.O Box, 30197-00100, Nairobi, Kenya
  • Akinyi Amwata School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, Murang’a University of Technology. P.O. Box 75-10200, Murang’a, Kenya



Climate change, Gender, Livelihood, Vulnerability, Kenya


Climate change is not gender neutral as its effects are not felt equally by men and women. Existing gender disparities result into gender differentiated vulnerabilities which in turn result into gender differentiated impacts. The goal of this study was to evaluate the susceptibility of livelihoods to climate change in the arid and semi-arid regions of Makueni county, Kenya based on gender. A semi-structured questionnaire was utilized to obtain cross-sectional primary data from 400 household heads selected using multi stage random sampling. The Kenya Meteorological Department provided rainfall and temperature data. The data was analyzed using two livelihood vulnerability indices: the composite Livelihood Vulnerability Index (LVI) and the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (LVI-IPCC) vulnerability index. The results revealed gendered disparities in livelihood vulnerability to climate change. According to the composite livelihood vulnerability index (LVI), women in Makueni county are more vulnerable to climate change (LVI women: 0.296, LVI men: 0.275). Women exhibited higher vulnerability in six out of the seven major components considered: natural disasters and climate variability (women: 0.375, men: 0.358), livelihood strategies (women: 0.363, men: 0.319), water (women: 0.342, men: 0.317), food (women: 0.295, men: 0.276), social networks (women: 0.274, men: 0.247), and socio-demographic profile (women: 0.170, men: 0.127). According to the LVI-IPCC approach, women and men exhibited similar degrees of vulnerability (men: 0.038, women: 0.034), but there were significant differences in the vulnerability contributing factors, with women exhibiting higher vulnerability in all three vulnerability factors: exposure (women: 0.375, men: 0.358), sensitivity (women: 0.290, men: 0.278) and adaptive capacity (women: 0.259, men: 0.221). The study recommends adoption of gender-responsive climate change policies in order to address gender-based discrimination, impediments and inequities that increase men’s and women’s vulnerability.

Author Biography

Owuor Opere, Institute for Climate Change and Adaptation, University of Nairobi. P.O Box, 30197-00100, Nairobi, Kenya

Professor at the Institute for Climate Change and Adaptation


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How to Cite

Muia, V., Opere, A., & Amwata, D. (2024). Gendered Livelihood Vulnerability to Climate Change in Makueni County, Kenya. International Journal of Ecology and Environmental Sciences, 50(4), 505–522.