2012 International day for disaster reduction: Women and girls - the [in]Visible force of resilience!

Meeting or Conference
United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR)
12 Oct 2012

Women and Girls - the [in]Visible Force of Resilience - 2012 International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR) Theme

The UN General Assembly decided to designate 13 October as the date to celebrate IDDR (resolution 64/200, 21 December 2009). This year it will be observed by the United Nations on Friday 12 October.

  • It does not imply that women and girls are invisible.

  • It is about drawing attention to the fact that their efforts to protect and rebuild their communities before and after disasters are often unrecognized and that 'invisibility' is a socio-cultural construct.

  • It is about highlighting that their ability to contribute is hindered by lack of inclusion and poor understanding of gender inequality.

  • It is about celebrating the contribution women and girls are making before, during and after a disaster.

  • It is about moving beyond the tendency to view and portray women and girls as victims. And even though women and girls feature disproportionately among the casualties of disasters they are 'active victims'.

  • It is about stories of action and initiative by women and girls, and it also seeks to shed light on the obstacles that prevent them from participating in Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation.

Key Messages: Empower women & girls for a safer tomorrow.

  • Women and girls must be empowered and guaranteed their human rights, equality and equity if they are to truly realize their potential for positive change and contribute to sustainable development, particularly in the areas of environmental and natural resource management; governance; socio-economic development; and urban and land use planning - the four key drivers of disaster risk.

Women & girls are powerful agents of change. In their vital but unsung roles, women rewove the fabric of their communities while men rebuilt the structure. -Helen Cox, "Women in Bushfire Territory," in Enarson and Morrow (eds.), The Gendered Terrain of Disaster, p. 142

  • They are invaluable partners in disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation (CCA) processes.

  • They are a significant percentage of the population and are among the most affected by disasters. They have valuable experience, knowledge and expertise that can be shared.

  • Household adaptation measures are more likely to take root if women are included in processes from beginning to end.

A resilient community is a gender-sensitive community. If we are going to see real development in the world then our best investment is women. - Desmond Tutu, 1984 Nobel Peace Prize

  • Gender equality begins with education. Women and girls must be included in public life. This begins with the education of boys and girls through to adulthood to remove the barriers that prevent women and girls from participating in the DRR cycle.

  • Women and girls are effective purveyors of information. Information exchange must be two-way and accessible for equal inclusion of women's and men's voices.

  • Gender inequality puts girls, women, children and entire communities in danger when natural hazards strike. The weakest link can mean the destruction of the entire chain. Gender inequality is a weak link - strengthening that link strengthens resilience.


Visit website

Related Links


Community-based DRR, Gender, Social Impacts & Social Resilience, Vulnerable Populations
Africa, Americas, Europe, Asia, Oceania
The Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction 2018, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia 3-6 July 2018 The Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction 2018, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia 3-6 July 2018.
  • What We Do What we do - we coordinate.
  • What We Do What we do - we campaign.
  • What We Do What we do - we advocate.
  • What We Do What we do - we inform.

Learn more about What We Do


See our photos on Flickr Watch our videos on YouTube Follow our Instagram Subscribe to our RSS feed