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. Disasters disrupt lives and livelihoods, impact health and safety, separate families and destroy the natural and built environments. Disasters can push people into (or back into) poverty. They disproportionately affect women, yet women also lead resilience efforts.

DRR is about building the resilience of people (women, men, boys, girls), communities, infrastructure and the natural environment. It is about reducing vulnerability and building on the strengths, knowledge and experience of people.

DRR is also integral to achieving sustainable development because development actions that do not contribute to reducing disaster risk are not sustainable. Additionally, development actions and choices that do not consider sustainable development in all its dimension can increase disaster risk and social, environmental and economic losses.


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 and girls 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 them the most.

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, decision-makers.


  • 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 resources to gender-responsive expertise, research, education, and training at all levels.
  • Understanding and action to protect women’s rights before, during and after an event, including the right of all women and girls to live free from violence and to secure sexual and reproductive health and rights.
  • Accountability, including of any private sector investments and funding, in DRR.
  • Funding directly to women’s organizations.

join the movement

Women and girls around the world are demanding and creating systemic change and a sustainable future for all. We need collective power to attain a just future – we need you.