Towards a post-2015 framework for
Disaster Risk Reduction
BUILDING THE RESILIENCE OF NATIONS AND COMMUNITIES TO DISASTERS
Post-2015 Framework Website
3: Stepping up for the most vulnerable
How to make women and girls the visible force of resilience?
Helena Molin Valdes
The UN International Day for Disaster Reduction is observed each year on October 13.
This year the theme is “Women and Girls – the (in)Visible Force of Resilience”.
This first week of the dialogue – Stepping up for the most vulnerable - I invite you to use the Step up for Disaster Risk Reduction site to add your voice based on events, news or in the comments on the blog at
We will use this as reflection when we move forward towards the post-2015 agenda, based on the experience
Your input will enrich the Step Up Initiative. It aims to give visibility and participation of and for different groups and highlight their contribution and solutions to reducing disaster risk. We are focusing on different groups every year, leading up to the World Conference for Disaster Reduction:
• Children and young people in 2011
• Women and girls in 2012
• Elderly in 2013
• Disabled in 2014
Last year the Step Up Initiative focused on Making Children and Young People Partners for Disaster Risk Reduction (
) and led to the dissemination of the Children's Charter and many events and news stories recorded. The International Day for Disaster Reduction 2011 page was the top hit for UNISDR’s website from September to October.
This year we want to hear from you how Women and Girls turned into a visible force…. A huge range of events is taking place around the world including tsunami drills in Myanmar, a workshop on gender-based violence in Vanuatu, community work in Rwanda, a poster and essay contest in the Philippines, a panel discussion at George Washington University, an education seminar in Nicaragua, and seismic risk discussion in Greece. An interactive crowd sourcing map featuring resilience in action by women and girls around the world is open for your stories (
In the second week, starting 22 October, we open up the regular online space for the dialogue. Keep you comments and ideas for the future, post-2015, until then.
Helena Molin Valdes,
Joseph Herve NGUIDJOL
How to make women and girls the visible force of resilience?
Welcome back Dear Friends
Resilience means the ability of a community exposed to hazards to resile from or spring back from a shock determined by the degree to which the community has the necessary resources and is capable of organizing itself both prior to and during time needed (UNISDR Terminology of Disaster risk reduction)
According to my point of view one of the key resources making women and girls the visible force of resilience is political willingness through governments and all keys institutional actors in guaranteeing firstly the rights of women and girls promoting gender equity let them participate actively in the social activities in terms of peace building, harmonization of the communities and all activities relating with the development rather than playing a passive role or marginalized groups in social and economic affairs.
To meet the goals of the force of resilience the three priorities identified as needing to address are:
Protection from gender-based violence, (protect girls and women from the risks and vulnerabilities including child labour early and forced marriage and sexual abuse through better policies and more resilient services).
Effective participation in decision making in activities to reduce risks (Ensure that the views of women are listened to and their priorities acted upon in social vulnerabilities, climate change and disaster risk management decision making which affect their wellbeing).
Greater access to quality of Education and Technical Training (Enhance their knowledge, skills and capacity to adapt and reduce disaster risks, raising awareness their prospects to pursue more resilient livelihoods and to safeguards their future).
This entails that gender equality and equity are not only a question of fundamental rights and social justice but also are prerequisite and community’s assets for resiliency and sustainable Development.
Joseph Herve NGUIDJOL
abed al badeaa al dada
Female are the other wing of the world and engaged them in the training must be major. As a partner in society, female must be a part of the training and their input will be valuable because the disaster will not exclude them.
Training to prepare and respond is an initial element and female must be promoted to be inside and real story and experience form the field has been success. Highlight the work of woman and the role they play will in helping and what can do is major element to motivate and implement an approach of the important of woman in the disaster.
Abed Al Badeaa Al Dada
Helena Molin Valdes
Thank you to all those who posted comments on the International Day site, to Loy Rego, Anohar John, Getnet Abebe, Santiago Vaca, Chrsitian and others (you find it at:
I want to quote, Mara Bun, from the Green Cross, who shared one inspiring example:
"In Australia, after our horrible 2009 "Black Saturday" fires, a group of imaginative and capable women called "Firefoxes" came together. This is what they do:
"Firefoxes Australia is a grassroots support group that emerged in the Kinglake Ranges in 2009 following the Black Saturday bushfires. In the years since, Firefoxes has touched the lives of thousands of women, men and children in Australian communities affected by fire, flood and cyclone.
The success of Firefoxes is largely due to their commitment to continually ask women what they want or need to ‘create a new normal and realise their dreams’. Responses relate to the need to feel safe and connected, the desire to have fun (to laugh again, indulge, to form friendships), and to build a stronger, healthier, more informed self."
See how their ideas and energy has spread into other parts of Australia after our 2011 floods and Cyclone Yasi here:
Green Cross Australia loves Firefoxes!" (said Mara Bun)
I look for other concrete examples of how women and girls are VISIBLE in resilience, and how this can be translated into our post-2015 disaster risk reduction framework - please share!
Dear Helena and DRR community members,
I think it is a very pertinent topic at this point of time when the DRR practitioners have started thinking about the post Hygo Framework. It is high time we all made a conscious efforts towards the same.
I have always believed that the women are 'epitome or the force of resilience' but at the same time they have been intentionally and unintentionally been kept invisible for number of reasons known to us. And we have to accept the fact that women is not a homogeneous group but it is very diverse with diverse sets of vulnerabilities. Due to their location in the society, there are various groups of women especially from lower caste, religion, single, divorced, age factor who face multiple marginalization. These women most of the time
We were doing a demographic research in one of the river islands in Bangladesh which is highly prone to floods. This is an Island with around 5000 community. The research apart from data collection was also focusing on the perception of the community towards different demographics. One of the questions we asked the community was the number of single and widowed women in this community and we were very surprised to know that they came out with a figure which varied between none to five. With active involvement of the community we did a census on the island and the total figure that we got was 32. The community was shell shocked as this was some kind of a realization for them. Then we did a thorough analysis with the community, with the mandate of orienting the community on the whole issue. Based on the detailed analysis, it was inferred that most of these women lived outside the village in some corner which is highly invisible, most of the women (could not get married), who were single were either not beautiful (as per the perception of the community) or they have some physical deformity. These are the women with very low self esteem and confidence and they hardly came out of their house and interacted with the larger community.
From the above case studies, it can be concluded that, women due various factors are one of the marginalized section of the society. They are into self imposed into some corner of the society which is invisible.
While working in a post cyclone (Aila 2009) rehabilitation work in Bangladesh in Satkhira and Khulna district we observed a very distinct demographic trend. The entire community comprised of the women, the elderly and the children with hardly any signs of male around. Upon further interrogations it became explicit that due to lack of food and meaningful employment the male members of the community migrated for work to other parts of the country and a good segment of the population has slipped into India illegally for search of work. The only segment of the society which were left in the village was the elderly people (considered as non-productive and non-mobile), children who are still non productive and the women to take care of them. The family burden which was shared between the male and the female members was not only falling on the female members.
In the event of any disaster the community is the first responder and it is the women who is at the forefront in most of the cases. There are very good examples from Post Indian Ocean Tsunami in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands of India where the ability of the women has been recognized and their capacities are being built to in shelter management, psychosocial care and first aid.
I would like to conclude by saying that we have always focused on being as the most vulnerable in the event of a disaster but now we need to acknowledge their contribution as a force of resilience.
The least developed countries in the world experience lack of stability for efficiency, accountability and sustainable solutions for the vulnerable population. The area that requires strength for visible force of resilience concerns women and girls in developing countries, usually in regional settings where dissemination of information is scarce. The HFA suggest ‘reducing the risks in key sectors’ and recommend ‘social needs: establish mechanism for increasing resilience of the poor and most vulnerable’ that establish the purpose and priority. Towards sustainable development for youth supplement can be introduced through interventions for young people and women through education and enable opportunities to acquire necessary skills and means to prepare them for natural hazards. Social inclusion is a key factor to benefit to adaptation and sustainability. The availability and accessibility must not deprive women and girls to be included in implementations of these interventions. Capacity to adapt will be increasingly weakened by vulnerability to livelihoods such as health concerns and external factors.
Helena Molin Valdes
Thank you Shakeb, Abend and Joseph for your example and proposals.
I repeat Loy's suggestion from the previous round in this dialogue: please revisit the current Hyogo Framework for Action at
Now is the time to do two things:
1.- A call to "engender" the current Hyogo Framework. Your proposals are welcome!
In the HFA implementation reporting, many governments state that this is still an area where little attention is given, inlcuding in the role and participation of women in decision making positions at different levels of disaster risk management and resilience. I just come back from a meeting with 120 Directors at local level for civil protection- two were women.
2.- How can this be reflected in bext ways in the post-2015 framework? Joseph has started to identify objectives in his previous interventions. More suggestions are welcome.
In her book "Discorso sulle donne" (a discourse on women) published in 1948, Natalia Ginzburg wrote that "women often fall at the bottom of a well", a feeling that of being inside a dark well typical of women that have to choose something they'd like to avoid. The perception of pains bore in silence and unspeakable make women particularly fit to deal with approaching disasters, raising all their energies to face tangible and intangible threats.
I wonder if the disaster preparedness approach should not consider such unspoken facet of resiliance, preparation through social hardness, and open a chapter on women contribution and LEAD in the psyops (psychological operations) to make people more serene and reactive in dealing with the upset of the crises.
Giorgio V. Brandolini, Orizzonte Terra.
Jalil Ur Rehman
How to make women and girls the visible force of resilience?
The gender balance based approach of DRR is the need of time. It is a clear cut fact without empowering women and girls the target of desirable DRR results can not be achieved. It is very necessary that women must be part of all the initiatives of DRR. All the decision making process regarding DRR, the participation of women is very important.Their access to knowledge and information, skill enhancement and financial support are crucial for enhancing their role and see them the visible force of resilience. Though it is recognized internationally but the issue of gender imbalance is very high in developing countries. The main factors behind are poverty, violation of basic human rights, class differences,poor government structure, lack of policies and education etc.Poor Government system is responsible for all these issues. Due to poverty women are suffering specially, they have no access to health, education and other basic needs. These make them more vulnerable in-case of disaster and suffer a lot. Inclusion of following points in post 2015 framework shall be helpful to make women and girls the visible force of resilience.
-Poverty reduction with special focus of women.
-Governments level laws and policies.
-Proper attention toward the poor and rural women with special care to their cultural norms.
-Ensure their access to education in rural area.
-Proper representation in Planning and policy (focusing rural areas)
-Climate related issues which have impacts on women should address.
-Governments discourage such customs and rituals which are based on class difference.
-Child labor and women exploitation should be banned.
-Government ensure political and social rights of women.
In Pakistan majority of population is living in rural areas.The rural women are suffering much more as compare to Urban women. So many groups are working here for gender equality but their existence are in Urban area only, the rural women are still facing hardships. The great disasters i.e earthquake 2005, Flood 2010, 2011 are witnessed the suffering of rural women mostly. For making women and girls visible force of resilience, women and girls in general but rural areas should be focused especially.
Yasamin O. Izadkhah
Dear Helena and All
Evidence throughout history has shown that women can play an important role in life management, economy of the family and making societies more resilient. Women can be considered as important agents for change and development. They are the focal core of a family and can play a major role in securing the livelihood of their families.
In one hand, it has been proved that the number of women who have lost their lives in natural disasters, are far more than men and therefore women are considered as one of the main victims of a disaster. For example, the 1992 floods in Bangladesh shows that due to the existing traditions, the cultural limitations, as well as social prohibitions, women faced difficulties in surviving themselves and therefore the number of casualties went high among this group. Years later, in December 2004 South Asian Tsunami, in Sri Lanka, Indonesia and India as well as in recent South Asian floods occurred in August 2007, in Bangladesh, India and Nepal, it can be seen that many women have lost their lives due to the lack of awareness and preparedness or faced difficulties in securing their livelihoods after the disaster.
However, in spite of existing evidence of women’s vulnerability to natural disasters, they have also shown their capabilities in various activities such as involvement in various stages of disaster management cycle, resettlement and organizing the activities, etc, and more specific, the overall cooperation in design, decision making and planning for disasters. In addition, research has shown that women are interested in participating in relief activities such as emergency aid along with their men and in absence of them, women can carry this load independently. For example, in Iran Manjil-Roudbar Earthquake in 1990, most of the families that the wife of the house had survived the disaster, were managed perfectly and children’s matters were handled properly, temporary houses were built and overall routine life went on systematically. After September 30, 1993, in Lature in South west of India, a network consisting of 3500 women from the self-drive groups worked on the basic and urgent needs of the affected community such as securing livelihoods, providing water, food and sanitation, health care and education. In Turkey, after the Izmit Earthquake in 1999, “Women and Children Centers” have been established in north west of the country which were used as a center for offering services to the society and other activities. Following Darb-e-Astaneh Earthquake in March 2006, women played an important role in the reconstruction process after the disaster. They also provided emotional support to their families and cooperated in various issues such as gathering food, water and fuel. Their effective role in maintaining and providing the livelihood has been recorded even more than men. After the Java Earthquake in May 2006 in Indonesia, women worked along men. They worked on the temporary shelters, participated actively in team work, distributed materials, and offered emotional assistance.
In this regard, extended research has been undertaken in many countries on the key role of women in disaster risk reduction and to make women the visible force of resilience. However, there are still issues which should be dealt with more in order to promote women's capabilities in reducing the disaster risks and promoting resilience. Few of these issues which still need further research includes:
- To investigate the causes of women’s vulnerability in disasters with regard to the specific characterization and culture of each country;
- To study the role of women in disaster management during and after disasters;
- To train women in earthquake reduction and support them for attending the related activities and initiatives;
- To investigate the role of women in planning for disaster risk reduction activities, decision making and their implementation;
- To investigate the key role of women in securing livelihood and resilience after natural disasters;
- To evaluate the successful implementation of disaster reduction strategies through women;
- To investigate the performance and role of expert women as the decision makers in the disaster risk reduction field;
- To study the role of women in providing psychological assistance to their families, neighbors and those in need after the disaster;
- To evaluate the appropriate time, methods and applicable tools for educating women;
- To identify those people who are responsible for teaching disasters to groups of women, as well as the type of education and the contents of the educational materials;
- To identify the specific groups of women who are more active for teaching disasters;
- To evaluate the effectiveness of the training in order to increase the quality of these activities in the future.
And more to be thought.
I would like to furnish two cases of women development and empowerment.
1) In India, Self-Help Groups are reckoned as Co-operatives within a Co-operative. Women focused SHG initiative is taken to enhance economic, health, nutrition, education status for women using access to micro-credit and convergence for services.
“Women took up only 33% of the 153.4 million man-days of jobs granted in West Bengal under the MNREG scheme, much lower than the national average, which was at 47-48%. One of the key objectives of the scheme is to empower women. The demand for jobs under MNREGS has traditionally been low among women in West Bengal, and there’s been no remarkable improvement even after the state, in 2007, allowed women to work 15% less than men for the same pay. Experts attribute this to the success of state-supported entrepreneurship schemes under which women form so-called self-help groups, or SHGs, and engage in a variety of economic activities such as farming, animal husbandry, food processing, knitting and production of natural fabrics. ‘For a woman, working with a self-help group is considered more respectable than building roads and digging wells,’.”
Access to social opportunities helps to increase quality of life, self-esteem and confidence. Quite a number of poor households are ignorant of basic services and programme benefits to which they were entitled. With adequate capacity building and proper institutional linkages with the services delivery institutions and Panchayat bodies, the SHGs can play a very major role in making some of these services and programmes accessible to the rural poor. This realization has led to the launching of Community Health Care Management Initiative in which the Self- help group(mainly women), the Gram Panchayats, the Health and Family welfare Department and the Women and Child Development and Social Welfare department have come together to improve the quality of public health including reproductive and child health in the rural areas.
“Member of women’s Self Help Group learnt the importance of institutional deliveries at an UNICEF-supported workshop funded by DFID. They were told the do’s and don’ts at the orientation. Local elected village council leader, Pradhan, asked Self Help Group to conduct a survey in the village that would help in understanding the condition of mothers and the difficulties they face. They came to know pregnant women in their area while conducting the survey, knowledge that came in handy while saving pregnant women and their children. Thousands of women are getting sensitised about good practices for saving mothers from dying under UNICEF’s DFID-funded Maternal Mortality Reduction Advocacy project in the state.”
“On the 9th and 11 of April, women in Jhalda and Burrabazar Block of Purulia, West Bengal come together to celebrate womanhood and the stories of their struggles as they take on developmental mandates in their village(s). Women in the remote rural district of Jhalda and Burrabazar block of Purulia, West Bengal come together as a mark of their solidarity to celebrate their ‘Mahaadhiveshan’. “Mahaadhiveshan is an overnight affair, that not only show cases their march towards development but also accentuates their identity as a collective led by women irrespective of caste, class and social status.”
At a time when the government is struggling to introduce poverty (70% of poor of the world are women) eradication measures by sketching relevant poverty lines and indicators, women in this remote rural district set a unique instance as over 5000 women Self Help group (SHG) members come together to celebrate the event, some of whom are perhaps stepping out of their villages for the first time.
Unlike the popular conception of SHG’s as micro credit units, these collectives function as a “support group”, by engaging in thinking and action on issues central to the women’s lives in this area- livelihoods, well being and space in family and society etc to enhance their sense of dignity. In the past, these women have played an instrumental role in spearheading several developmental initiatives in their village(s) in both implementation and governance roles such as Integrated Natural resource Management (INRM) activities through Spl. SGSY (Swarna Jayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana) of Government of India; Water and Sanitation program; Adult Functional Literacy etc.
The women self help groups are also playing a major role in delivery of midday meal to school children. Instances have also come to notice where the SHGs have effectively resisted social malpractices such as underage marriages and trafficking. In fact in places where the SHG movement is strong there appears to be positive impact on age at marriage, family planning and practice of dowry. There are instances where the SHG groups have successfully resisted in trafficking of girls in their villages.
2) It is mandatory to reserve certain percentage of seats for women in three levels Panchayati Raj Institute (PRI), the elected body local self government. In some instances, the Chairman is also from womanhood. This PRI is responsible for all types of social developments.
There are many such examples where women are actively involved in programmes or projects or they are at the helm of affairs, but
1) DRR is not yet widely recognized as a development issue. As such, though SHG has huge potential in building capacity of women, it is not actively involved in DRR.
2) No development planning procedure inbuilt with DRR components is in wide use at PRI level. Woman representative does not go beyond the system.
3) Women’s participation in PRI is very mechanical.
4) SHG is not the answer to the problem of women, why and how they are disadvantaged, as it does not touch the mainstream of development.
5) Though these initiatives succeed in bringing women’s concern in center of development processes, but focus what women can do for the development at the expense of what women can do for them. These can only be treated as means.
Gender mainstreaming considers gender equality as a goal. It ensures that women’s as well as men’s concerns and experiences are integral part of all legislative, programmes and policy initiatives.
Experience from India shows that, grassroots women leaders can become change makers in resilience initiatives and leaders in creating safe community. Women groups from Maharashtra, Bihar, Orissa, Tamilnadu, Assam and Andhra Pradesh initiated great efforts in building local capacity by preparing themselves in forming women disaster task force in Bihar and Tamilnadu, leading organic farming initiatives to address agriculture and climate change in Maharashtra,Bihar and Tamilnadu.
Developing local partnership with government institutions such as Agriculture Research Institute and Agriculture University to learn new methods in agriculture to cop up with climate change impacts.
Emerging leaders shows that local partnership with local government authorities and offices is important in leveraging resources and programmes. Recognition at block to district level gets more motivation for women leaders.
Leaders from Tamilnadu have demonstrated that addressing agriculture as the main source of livelihood could be re-look to address local food security and neutrino. Promotion of kitchen garden, model vegetable farming, bio-compost and green energy promotion are some of the initiatives promoted by Women Federation in Maharashtra, Tamilnadu and Bihar.
Women Disaster Task Force in Darbhanga, Bihar is a leading force in preparing community in vulnerability mapping, identifying priorities and working with local government to solve the issues. The same way Women task force in Tamilnadu teach other communities on hazard mapping, formation of task force, linking with community health and development thru implementing government programmes.
Women leaders in Maharashtra have been recognized as women farmers due to their effort and commitment. They negotiated with their husbands to get a piece of land and experimented with organic methods. They have demonstrated successfully and got recognition from community, government and family. Now they have been invited for participating in Radio programmes on agriculture, attending national agriculture exhibition, partnering with KVK as resource persons for training in organic methods etc.
Swayam Shikshan Prayog (SSP), India
One more thing, Gender Mainstreaming is more bottom-up approach than development and empowerment processes, which are normally top-up command and control mechanism initiated by Government and Legislation.
Hi, i strongly advocate education as the only tool for women to be heard and catylizied, marginalisation and inequality should adversily be kick against, women should be recognize for their multilierable assistance in human rocreation.
This year’s theme for the International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR), Women and Girls: the[in]Visible Force of Resilience, rallied people from around the world to take a stand and showcase that women and girls are positive agents of change for disaster risk reduction.
The social mobilization around IDDR and the 2012 theme was impressive to say the least. This is one day in the year where the world can collectively show that disaster risk reduction is important in their communities. From Afghanistan to Zambia, individuals, groups, and organizations took the theme of IDDR 2012 and made it their own. This included organizing essay and drawing competitions, conducting earthquake drills, producing radio talk shows and videos around the theme, photo and art exhibitions, blogging and writing articles about IDDR. One particular activity that stood out was in Romania where local officials organized the production of a graphic art piece for an outdoor mural (
In addition to the 117 events that took place around the world in over 80 countries, with the support from over 200 organizations, there were strong statements by key political officials that gave their support for the day. This included the UN Secretary-General, Executive Director of UN Women, Director-General of UNESCO, the ASEAN Secretary-General, Philippine parliamentarian Loren Legarda, and EU Commissioner’s Kristalina Georgieva and Connie Hedegaard.
Finally, social media showed that modern channels of communication helped to amplify the IDDR theme and messages, and allowed people from around the world to share their voice and showcase how they celebrated the International Day for Disaster Reduction. For a sample of photos, videos, messages and activities shared by the world for IDDR, visit:
This Day showcased the type of advocacy needed to drive social mobilization.
Dear colleague on line dialoguers,
Glad to see so many of you active online on this new round and so many of you giving specific and valuable examples of good and promising practice on womens empowerment and leadership.
To David, Prema and Giorgio , thanks for joining this space and contributing to the dialogue.
I agree with Helena and David that this years IDDR was outstanding in its reach and engagement of a whole range of new players, and specific valauble messages from women leaders from countries, UN agencies, NGOs, national and grassroot women's orgnaisations. We in the DRR world did reach out to those in the women's movement through the campaign. Congratulations to UNISDR, all IDDR partners, Plan, Save, Huairou commission, GDN, Oxfam, UNICEF and UN Women in making this 21st IDDR one of the most outstanding in terms of reach and momentum. We need to make sure that the coming year is one of action and continued engagement.
I am in Vientiane today and read the headline in the Vientiane times about the first ever ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Women which met in the capital of Lao PDR on sunday. The report highlighted the outcome calling for gender empowerment in environmental issues. And the 5th Asian Ministerial Meeting on DRR which opens in a few hours in Yogya karta today has a draft outcome document to be finalised by 25th October which has a specific annex each on the role of women and girls.
Also significant and valauable was the engagment of child focussed organisations on visibilising the girl child and her role in promoting action in her school, her community and among her classmates. Tomorrow I hope to meet with colleagues from the Lao Ministry of Education, NDMO, Lao Women's Union, Save the Children, and ADPC in Lao to hear more about the outcomes of the work done in promoting action by girls and boys in schools in 3 districts of Lao and implementing new national standards of safe school construction.
I hope to encourage some young girls, and their young women facilitators to write in their stories of what they have done. I urge all of you in various organisatiosn who are part of the organisers of IDDR and particpants in this dialogue to bring at least one more voice of a women or girl to driectly write in this space, or at least speak to you, so that you serve as scribe and bring their voices into thsi discussion.
Thanks too Helena for the challenge of asking us all how to engender the HFA and its successor . Clearly identifying gender as a cross cutting issue , is not enough. Let us look at some of the work done by by women in recovery, empowered by the joint land titling that began 19 years ago afterthe latur earthquake of 1993. Let us look at GDN's wealth of literature on its website. Let us look at the GGCA handbook on women in Climate change. Let us look at GCAP's feminist task force climate justice tribunals and womens voices from the coalition of Climate affected communities eastablished in 2009. Let us look at UNDP BCPRs eight point plan of action on gender action in crisis prevention and recovery. Let us look at teh discussion in the ongoing inequalities online discussion taking palce on the world we want website of th post 2015 global development agenda.
Let us identify some specific action oriented partnership proposals, perhaps building on this weeks discussions in Yogya and other regional meetings, to launch at the next GP 2013, as a concrete outcome of this years campaign. Such a specific goal will stand us in good stead as we aim to engender the post 2015 DRR framwework to come out of WCDR 2015.
In my opinion, efforts around 'engendering' the current Hyogo Framework have to be at the interface of bottom-up initiatives and top-down governance and institutional support. It is in this connection I want to highlight the recent policy directive of the Ministry of Panchyati Raj in India to 'hold special Gram Sabha meeting on women centric issues on any day in October 2012'. Gram sabhas (village councils) are functional entities of the local self-government units (Panchayats) in India. This provided an opportunity for many gram sabhas to discuss specific issues of women vulnerability as well as their capacity and leadership for household and community resilience. In the words of Michelle Bachelet, Executive Director UNWOMEN, who recently participated in one these gram sabhas in the district of Alwar in Rajasthan, "When women fail to attend Gram Sabha meetings, there is the risk that their interests may be sidelined. So it is important for you as women to participate actively because then the Gram Sabhas will function more effectively." Strengthening meaningful participation and leadership of women through these grassroots institutions is crucial. Higher up, there is a need to understand and establish multi-level institutional linkages among policies and programmes of various ministries such as Women & Child Development (WCD), Rural Development, Environment & Forest, Disaster Management and Agriculture.
Concerted, sustained and integrated actions by key stakeholders with strategies based on inclusiveness, representation, participation, diversity, economic results and political neutrality.
I am sharing the following input on behalf of Fundacion Guatemala:
Consideramos que la mejor forma de hacer a las mujeres una fuerza visible dentro de la resiliencia es literalmente visibilizando su trabajo. Es decir, muchas mujeres alrededor del mundo están trabajando resiliencia pero como siempre, el trabajo de las mujeres y en especial las mujeres de base, no siempre es reconocido como verdadero trabajo y con naturaleza productiva o realmente con poder de cambio. Por lo tanto tenemos que encontrar la manera de visibilizar el trabajo de las mujeres de base por medio de acciones sencillas tales como presentaciones públicas convocando a donantes y autoridades públicas; publicaciones para distribuir a actores estratégicos; acercamiento a instituciones gubernamentales y no gubernamentales que trabajen el tema para crear planes de trabajo conjuntas; entre otras.
Para conseguir fondos para este tipo de acciones se puede acudir así mismo a fondos provenientes tanto de instituciones gubernamentales como no gubernamentales que muchas veces están interesadas en evidenciar y visibilizar el trabajo de las mujeres de base.
Además, por medio de esta visibilización del trabajo de las mujeres de base, se puede alcanzar y contactar a más donantes y cooperantes que al conocer el trabajo en resiliencia que están realizando las mujeres de base, se muestran interesados en cooperar para que este trabajo continúe y se amplíe. Esta experiencia nos sucedió a nosotras (Fundación Guatemala) en una presentación pública de resultados de mapeos de riesgos y vulnerabilidades de 5 comunidades en la cual estaba presente un representante de PNUD y se acercó a nosotras para apoyar el trabajo de las mujeres de base en la resiliencia y así lo hicieron.
Dr Sudhir Gandhi
Dear Helena and all DRR Members,
Contarary to the usual belief-Women in the developing countries like India and that too in certain well progressing states are coming forward very fast in the fields like Education.Economic upliftmement of their entire family,Strong voice in decision making in the Family, Community Participation & overall providing Leadership in rural areas.
We should certainly look forward to provode them DRR trainings in the sectors like First Aid-Stoppage of bleeding-correct head positioning-posture and primar support and aids to the victims with fractures-moith to mouth respirations-communication and referral services-Preventive meassures for Electric Shocks and all aspects of accidental Chemical Poisioning and leakages-for the groups living in the close surroundings of areas with large number of chemical units around.
Even they can be trained as good swimmers and Rescue Personel !
I strongly suggest to include female counterparts in all community level CBRN trainings.
Dr Sudhir Gandhi
Director State Institute Of Health & Family Welfare.
Govt Of Gujarat-India
I agree with Dr sudhir there is need to train the women especially in rural areas in a big way which will be a step for making them reseliant for disasters
Dr muzaffar Ahmad
Helena Molin Valdes
I welcome your comments also on the current topic: how to best address needs of groups with special needs and ensure their participation as a force.
Dear Helena and all DRR Members
Involving the women in the affairs of the states goes a long way. in my country, the right of a lady is barely known by her. how then can she defend it. I believe if education comes first i.e bringing out the best in them, and then they are involved in the system (government, politics e.t.c). This will make them the visible forces wherever they find themselves.
-Educating them: making them know their rights and how to defend it
-involving them: involving them, the women in the affairs of the state helps bring out the best n the boldness in them.
Afimia Ansel Yakubu
How to make women and girls the visible force of resilience?
For women and girls to be resilient they need to:
-to be considered as full citizens
-have their place in the society
-and have access to at least basic education.
Governments need to implement judicial changes to take the female population into account at each level of the society, and it must be done with a genuine honesty. This implies that an effort will be made to change mind sets otherwise it will be a waste of time, energy and money.
Dear Helen and DRR members
I would like to introduce myself. I lecture engineering in Australia and my personal field of interest is Natural Hazards. I have a degree in Geography with a specific interest in Geomorphology, Earthquakes and Tsunamis. I have a large body of Female students from Asian, European and South American nations who I hope to provide with knowledge to give them the tools to work within their home communities. As other posters have said, education is the key. Empowering these women when they return to their communities is extremely important. I do not represent any organisation so I am not sure if i am eligible to post here but I have first hand experience of natural hazards as I seem to have managed to scuba dive through an 8.6 and an 8.2 quake in Sumatra in April and a 7 quake and small tsunami in Sulawesi in January. I spoke extensively to women in the area and about other quakes and tsunamis that have caused catastrophic disasters in Thailand, Indonesia, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. I also do not represent the educational institution and am wondering if I am eligible to contribute further regarding the information and inspiration I have found from women who have stepped up when all around them is chaos and madness. Could you please advise if I am eligible to contribute? Thank you in advance.
Abbas Ostad taghizadeh
Dear Helena and all DRR Members
Despite women and girls are more vulnerable in disaster than other groups, but they can have a main role in disaster risk reduction programs. This role is more significant in pre-impact phases.
Although disaster knowledge enhancement in women and girls is very important for increasing community disaster resilience, but it is not sufficient. Our research in Tehran, capital city of Iran, shown that increasing the disaster knowledge level couldn't necessarily enhance disaster preparedness. On my experiences, I think that increasing disaster resilience in women and girls is a process that begins with information, communication and motivation, continues with training and empowering and finally eventuates by social organizing. Social organizing is the key point for making women and girls as a visible power in disaster resiliency. Considering in order to achieve this goal women capacity identification and establishment community- based organizations (CBOs) is one the most important measures.
UNDP Serbia supported a baseline study on gender in Disaster Risk Management. The aim of the study was to examine if gender aspect is included into the disaster prevention, preparedness, response and recovery policies in Serbia. The review of domestic laws and policies in the area of disaster risk management and gender equality is complemented with the serial of interviews with all relevant institutions in these areas. Based on the situation analysis, a set of practical recommendations is formulated for enhancing the gender responsiveness of the disaster risk reduction system in Serbia at both national and local level. Results of the study, the first of its kind in the country, are presented at the Parliamentary hearing on 12th October, in the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia on the occasion of the International Day for Disaster Reduction. The research conducted for the study was itself a unique opportunity to advocate in both directions: for mainstreaming gender into the DRR and for DRR to be included into development policies and plans, given that a wide range of stakeholders were introduced to the concept and its central role in ensuring sustainable development.
The findings of the study suggest that the policy and legal frameworks in Serbia are not gender mainstreamed as recommended in the Hyogo Framework for Action ( HFA) 2005 – 2015 and that the role of women in DRR is mostly perceived as that of victims. Therefore, recommendations based on the study findings on integrating gender into the DRR in Serbia are structured in line with HFA five priority actions.
For this occasion, we extracted few recommendations aiming to contribute to the process of “engendering” national polices and practices in the area of DRR.
Action priority 1: Ensure that disaster risk reduction is a national and a local priority with a strong institutional basis for implementation:
• The Law on Emergency Situations and the National Strategy of Protection and Rescue in Emergencies should be improved to include the gender perspective in accordance with the HFA, by introducing elements required for mainstreaming gender in all the five priority areas of disaster risk reduction. The main methods to achieve gender equality are: to increase the number of women in all roles (managerial and operational) and in all phases of disaster risk reduction ranging from planning and prevention, through direct emergency response to recovery. It is necessary to consider the distinct vulnerabilities of women and men to risk, as well as different needs of women and men. It is also essential that the Strategy envisages the promotion of opportunities for women in terms of employment opportunities in the field of disaster risk reduction.
• Gender-sensitive statistics should be introduced in the field of disaster risk reduction: such statistics includes data collected and presented in the form segregated by gender and age.
Action priority 2: Identify, assess and monitor disaster risks and enhance early warning:
• The Draft Methodology for Risk Assessment of Disasters and other Accidents should be gender-mainstreamed: e.g. as regards the nature and density of habitation, impacts on human life and health. Also, when we talk about potential occurrence of other hazards and analysis of whether with potential concurrence of a number of hazards harmful impacts on women, men and property increase, information provision to women should be improved and their disaster resilience increased.
• Moreover, women are more intensely subject to different forms of sexual, physical and property-related violence (and combination of all three of these), which is a fact to be considered in the phase of risk assessment and risk analysis.
Action priority 3: Use knowledge, innovation and education to build a culture of safety and resilience at all levels:
• Additional education (formal and informal) is a necessary way to gender-mainstream the field of disaster risk reduction. The education system may have an important role in building up national security culture, through elementary, high school and university education, e.g. post-graduate studies at the Faculty of Security and related faculties. The Ministry of Education, in cooperation with the Ministry of Interior is organizing a „safe childhood“ training for school students, into which the topics of disaster risk reduction and gender equality need to be included.
• There are fields and activities in the Republic of Serbia where women are at distinguished management positions, such as the sector of health care, education, social protection institutions, judicial institutions, and they should be presented to the public. Further research should be conducted in order to identify and present best practice examples which will help overcome the stereotypes of women as victims of emergencies and point at the need that women should have an active role in emergency management, as in all other life situations. The presence of women is necessary and required before, during and after an emergency, in different teams in which their professional knowledge, experience and leadership capacities can be used.
Action priority 4: Reduce the underlying risk factors:
• Gender equality and system planning policies should be inter-linked in the field of disaster risk reduction taking into consideration the distinct social positions of women and men, their different mobility, different location in emergencies, potential differences in access to information and advice on emergencies, and gender-based differences that account for their distinct post-disaster needs and priorities.
• Women should be more represented in prevention activities, since both local and international practice points at the potential of women’s capacities in this very area, in the activities of analysis, monitoring of performed activities, which up to now have never been used. In order to include all opinions, the teams should be mixed, in other words, be composed of both women and men of various age.
Action priority 5: Strengthen disaster preparedness for effective response at all levels:
• In order to be able to plan emergency response in a gender-differentiated manner, we should take into account that at the time of emergency there is an increased vulnerability of women left alone at home with small children, that there is an increased responsibility of female tutors in kinder-gardens, in charge of the rescue of children who have been entrusted to them, nurses and women doctors in health institutions, female teachers in schools, the staff of elderly care centers and similar institutions where women prevail in the workforce.
• In order to break the stereotypes about the division between female and male jobs, data should be identified and collected about women performing duties traditionally considered as ’jobs for men’: women handling construction and mining machines, professional truck and bus drivers, members of mountaineering and speleological teams, women in extreme sports, female paragliders and parachutists, female pilots etc. It is especially important to present women in field command during an emergency.
This discussion has concluded and posts can no longer be made.
Critical issues and priorities needed to address urban risks and local governance for disaster resilience
5: Integrating disaster risk reduction, climate change adaption and sustainable development
4: Post-2015 Development Agenda: creating resilience, building prosperity
3: Stepping up for the most vulnerable
2: Taking stock and looking ahead
1: Setting the context
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