Gendered consequences of mobility for adaptation in small island developing states: Case studies from Maafushi and Kudafari in the Maldives

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In recent years island communities have actively adapted in response to a complex combination of changes that has shaped life on the islands, and this has had gendered consequences. The gender ramifications of adaptation on islands are still largely neglected in adaptation policies, although they are increasingly being addressed in the scientific literature. Understanding gendered consequences is indispensable for a critical comprehension of adaptation on islands. It would help avoid the formulation of adaptation policies that tend to focus only on technical problems and solutions. Such solutions potentially run the risk of reducing island problems to only biophysical issues such as sea level rise or problems attributed to the size and isolation of the islands. This paper investigates the consequences of adaptation for the mobility of both women and men on two islands in the Maldives, a small island developing state (SIDS) that has experienced unprecedented changes in recent decades. The focus on mobility stems from the fact that it forms an integral social and cultural part of island life. Although gender and mobility are intrinsically linked, the gendered consequences of adaptation for mobility are understudied. This study used qualitative interviews to collect narratives. The results show that the adaptation interviewees describe from their living memory has only exacerbated gender inequality by influencing the mobility of men and women in different ways.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Human Geography
  • Gender Studies
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
JournalIsland Studies Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Publication categoryResearch