Title of Work

Kenyan Women Bearing the Cost of Climate Change

Document Type


Publication/Presentation Date

March 2021


Background:Climate change-induced crises can aggravate gender-based violence; the loss of income when weather affects the agricultural industry can exacerbate violence at home. In Kenya, the effect of climate change on weather patterns has led to increased precipitation and temperature. These weather changes lead to more intense flooding during the rainy seasons and droughts during the dry season. For 75% of Kenyans, agricultural activities are their primary source of income. With 98% of agriculture depending on rainfall, the change in weather patterns has provided farmers with a challenge when timing the planting and harvesting of crops. The aim of this research is to assess patterns in domestic violence (DV) and severe weather events (SWE) over a 6-year period in Kenya.Methods:We examined IPUMS-DHS data from 2008, and 2014 for DV severity and frequency. We used EM-DAT data along with GPS coordinates to identify SWEs (defined as any drought or flood > 10 days) by county in Kenya in the year of DV data collection. We conducted a logistic regression using a mixed effects model grouped by 8 counties in Kenya. We also evaluated whether changes in weather in each county in the two years leading up to DV data collection is associated with an increase in domestic violence. All analyses were controlled for rural/urban residence, husband drinking status, husband working in agriculture. Findings:We identified a significant association between weather patterns and reporting DV. Having a partner who worked in agriculture increased the odds of reporting domestic violence (OR = 1.2, 95% CI: 1.1-1.3). The odds of reporting experiences of DV were 1.4 times greater in areas that experienced a major flood (OR = 1.4, 95% CI: 1.3-1.6). We also noted an increase in odds of reporting experiences of DV in areas that reported an increase in floods as compared to areas where no floods occurred (OR = 1.6, 95% CI: 1.4-1.9). The association between severe flooding and DV warrants a deeper look how changing weather patterns affect DV worldwide. Interpretation:Climate action is an essential component in the ongoing fight to eliminate violence against women and girls. This analysis adds to the urgency of addressing action to stop environmental degradation, action to stop gender-based violence, and demonstrate that the two issues often need to be addressed together.

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