Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) at its essence is the effort to reduce the causes of disasters and the causes of risk. But the full picture of risk can only be understood in the broader context of structural inequalities, from the global to the local level, which exacerbate vulnerability. Disasters contribute to loss of biological species, and destroy or disrupt natural and built environments—including public infrastructure and services. They also destroy lives and livelihoods, impact health and safety, separate families, and push people into (or back into) poverty.
DRR is about reducing vulnerability and building on the strengths, knowledge and experience of people. It is also about reducing risks and drivers of risks, such as climate change and gender inequality. In the wider realm of sustainable development, DRR considerations are integral for ensuring that development projects don’t increase disaster risk and social, environmental and economic losses.
GENDER AND DISASTER RISK REDUCTION
Disasters have different and specific impacts on men, women, boys and girls. Gender and other inequalities result in differences in experiences, opportunities, responsibilities, assets, and impacts of disaster. Differences are notable, including in terms of sexual and reproductive health and rights and gender-based violence.
Gender roles and norms limit the capacities and resources of women, girls and gender-diverse people to respond with resilience for themselves and their families, while disruptions to services and the breakdown of protection mechanisms and the rule of law can affect these groups the most.
Although they are amongst the most impacted, women, girls and gender-diverse people also lead resilience efforts. Women’s participation, leadership and knowledge are central to preventing, preparing for and recovering from disasters. But, women are not simply a resource for DRR efforts (human or economic); women are stakeholders, rights-holders, and decision-makers.
VISION FOR CHANGE:
- Inclusive approaches to DRR at the country and community levels.
- Gender analysis to comprehensively understand disaster risk, which requires the ethical, participatory collection and use of gender-specific, sex/age/disability-disaggregated data.
- Allocation of adequate funding from developed countries to developing countries to scale up DRR localization, response and recovery, including funding for gender-responsive expertise, research, education, and training at all levels.
- Actions to protect rights before, during and after an event/disasters, including the right of all women and girls to live free from violence and to secure sexual and reproductive health and rights.
- Direct funding for women’s organizations.
- Meaningful participation of women, feminists and their organizations in DRR policy processes at the global and local levels.
- Coherence with other related frameworks to reduce risks.