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While people around the world are increasingly facing various climate-related stresses, women with limited resources in low income developing societies are often at a greater risk largely because of their pre-existing constraints on social, economic, political, and cultural resources and opportunities. In this paper, we investigate how gender differences influence farmers’ access to various resources that are critical for local climate adaptation in coastal Bangladesh. As one of the most climate-vulnerable regions in not only the country but the world, coastal Bangladesh is experiencing a significant increase in sea level rise, tropical cyclones, storm surges, coastal flooding, coastal erosions as well as unpredictable rainfall patterns. All of these climate related stresses directly contribute to the region’s increasing exposure to saltwater intrusion in coastal lands and freshwater sources. While a majority of the previous research has focused on community-based climate adaptation, there has been limited attention on how gender differences shape local farmers’ climate adaptation strategies. Using mixed-methods research, this article highlights the ways in which male-headed and female-headed farming households have differential access to locally available adaptation resources along with associated constraints or opportunities for adaptation and disaster risk reduction strategies vary substantially. Our findings suggest female-headed farms are less likely to sell their farmland or migrate away in search of non-farm income due to normative gendered expectations and socio-cultural restrictions. Therefore, female farmers are forced to pursue in-place farming adaptation strategies with limited external resources while relying on informal social networks for weather and climate information.

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This is an Accepted Manuscript of an Article published in Local Environment on April 2021, available online at