Socio-environmental strategies to strengthen resilience of women migrant workers in the Reconquista River Basin, Buenos Aires, Argentina
A 2008 United Nations report states that climate change is not gender-neutral — women are more negatively affected by its impacts. This participatory action research project explores the local reality faced by thousands of women migrant workers in the lower territories of the Reconquista River Basin, north-west of Buenos Aires, Argentina. More than 4 million people live in the Basin, one of the most polluted areas in the country. It is home to many migrants and Argentina’s largest open-air dump.
Women displaced from northern Argentina, Bolivia, and Paraguay due to socio-economic, environmental, and climate-based reasons make up a substantial proportion of the San Martin municipality’s 400,000-plus inhabitants who work in the open-air dump.
The research, led by the Buenos Aires-based Universidad Nacional de General San Martin, will analyze the extent to which climate change determines women’s migration to the Reconquista area. It will also examine how social factors such as class, ethnicity, and gender interact with socio-environmental and climate-based realities to determine the capacity of migrant women to fully exercise their control over resources and decision-making.
The researchers are facilitators of a research process carried out by the communities involved. The project will assess environmental, climatic, and social vulnerabilities. Two-way research processes will enable co-production of knowledge on climate change, gender, and migration. This knowledge, co-produced by the researchers and migrant women, can help policymakers and women themselves transform social problems.
Based on the evidence obtained, a training course will strengthen women’s resilience and capacities to deal with climate change challenges by granting them a diploma as socio-environmental change agents and guardians of their own rights. The goal is to guarantee the sustainability of their lives against daily conditions of inequality and violence. Through an approach which fully recognizes their rights and abilities, migrant women will be able to change their living conditions and become relevant, resilient actors against the pressures of climate change. The findings will be replicated in other areas through training workshops and dissemination activities involving community leaders and technicians from other Reconquista municipalities.