The study highlights the heterogeneity of women as a group and their intersectional dynamics as they adapt to increasing agricultural water scarcity on their rural livelihoods. The findings show that social differences including gender, class, household headship, age and stage of life shape women’s differentiated experiences in vulnerability in access to water, to forestland and credit; in turn mark their adaptation differentiation to climate-related agricultural water scarcity.

The study also stresses that existing development policies can cause inequality in resource access in practice, running the risk of further marginalizing certain groups of women, especially female heads of household. Meanwhile, the current National Target Program to Respond to Climate Change of Vietnam is blind to issues of women’s differentiated vulnerability and adaptive capacity.

This study suggests that if these current development and adaptation measures do not pay proper attention to differentiated gender experience, they are likely to exacerbate the vulnerabilities of those affected, particularly female heads of household, rather than help them. In addition, these development and climate programmes have to be redesigned to accommodate more context-specific policies instead of one-size-fits-all packages that will effectively address women’s (and men’s) differential needs and unequal relations and circumstances.

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