Gender-Sensitive Disaster Risk Reduction

Gender-Sensitive Disaster Risk Reduction

Disaster risk reduction (DRR) is a fundamental pillar of sustainable development and requires an “All of Society Inclusive Approach”. Building the resilience of nations and communities requires accelerating sustainable investments in social and economic development and the environment. A gender perspective to DRR helps focusing attention on the distinct gender-specific capacities and vulnerabilities to prepare, confront, and recover from disasters.

Disasters affect men and women, and boys and girls, differently. In many contexts gender inequalities constrain the influence and control of women and girls over decisions governing their lives as well as their access to resources. Due to existing socio-economic conditions, cultural beliefs and traditional practices, women are more likely to be disproportionately affected by disasters, including increased loss of livelihoods, gender-based violence, and even loss of life during and in the aftermath of disasters. Hence, the empowerment of women is a critical ingredient in building disaster resilience.

Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) – a Decade of Advocacy on engendering DRR

The HFA, the global blueprint for disaster risk reduction 2005-2015, emphasized the importance of gender perspective for building resilience by calling for it to be “ integrated into all disaster risk management policies, plans and decision-making processes, including those related to risk assessment, early warning, information management and education and training." Consistent advocacy over the last ten years has resulted in increasing acknowledgement of the constructive role of women in disaster risk reduction; that women and girls – like men and boys – possess skills and capacity to prepare for, respond to and recover from crisis, and to manage risk and build resilience. A number of countries continuously work to integrate gender dimensions into risk reduction and disaster response involving women and men actively in planning and implementation. Civil Society and women’s organisations are undertaking innovative, gender equitable, pro-poor work to reduce disaster risk and build resilience of communities.

At the normative level the international community has committed to a strong focus on gender equality and women’s rights in disaster risk reduction. These commitments are grounded in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, as well as other international agreements such as HFA, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, and the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) resolutions 56/2 and resolution 58/2 on gender equality and the empowerment of women in natural disasters.

Gender-sensitive DRR in post-2015 Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction

UNISDR programmatic work over the past 5 years has focused on mainstreaming gender aspects in planning and implementing DRR policies, advocacy campaigns and awareness raising products. UNISDR, as the facilitator of the process on developing a post-2015 Framework on DRR, has ensured that gender and the empowerment of women receives due attention in global, regional and national consultations that took place 2012-2014. These consultations identified progress in engendering DRR, however they also identified gaps in mainstreaming gender into DRR design, planning, resourcing and implementation. Working with governments counterparts, women organizations and other civil society actors, and UN system partners, the recommendations on gender-sensitive DRR and the reflection of a stronger role of women in building resilience will be reflected in the expected outcomes of the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan, 14-18 March 2015.

Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women in UNISDR

UNISDR facilitates mainstreaming gender perspectives in DRR by partnering and working closely with a diverse group of partners from Governments, Parliamentarians, UN System, Civil Society, Private Sector and the Media to support a gender-sensitive DRR agenda and the mobilization of women leadership for DRR. UNISDR adopted a Gender Policy in 2011 for gender mainstreaming in DRR to provide guidance to stakeholders and to promote gender equality and empowerment of women internally. To support governments and partners efforts on promoting gender in DRR, UNISDR developed a Twenty-Point Checklist on Gender-Sensitive DRR.

Internally and at corporate level, UNISDR fulfills its commitment on gender equality and the empowerment of women in the organization and incorporates gender into the biennial work planning process as well as UNISDR Strategic Framework 2012-2015. UNISDR ensures regular reporting on the UN System-Wide Action Plan on Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-SWAP), which tracks progress against 15 common-system performance indicators.

UNISDR facilitates and coordinates global and regional actions on DRR and works closely with governments at national and local level to strengthen resilience.

Further resources on Gender in DRR can be found at:

International Day on DRR 2012 celebrated and promoted the “Women and Girls: the invisible Force for Resilience”

Publications on Gender-Sensitive DRR

Post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction (HFA2): report from 2013 global platform consultations
Background paper on the inclusion of gender in the post-2015 Framework for DRR
Towards post-2015 agenda for DRR (HFA2): Women as a force in resilience building, gender equality in DRR. Report of the consultations in Asia Pacific
Disaster risk reduction and gender: post 2015 gender equality in the future we want. Report of the consultations in Latin America and the Caribbean
UN System Sector Brief on Gender-Responsive DRR
Making disaster risk reduction gender-sensitive: policy and practical guidelines
UNISDR Gender Policy
Twenty-point checklist on Gender-Sensitive DRR

View more documents on Gender and DRR on PreventionWeb

Regional Platforms for Disaster Risk Reduction take place from Africa to the Pacific Regional Platforms for Disaster Risk Reduction take place from Africa to the Pacific.
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