Gender dynamics of disaster risk and resilience

Source(s)
World Bank, the
  • New World Bank report shows how gender inequalities drive disaster impacts and vice versa.
  • The report is a tool for those seeking to improve policies and interventions by considering gender as part of design and implementation.
  • It paves a way forward for this agenda by identifying priorities for analytics, as well as operations, and providing policy recommendations.

Natural hazards, such as floods, droughts and earthquakes, are gender neutral - but their impacts are not.

Men and women, boys and girls are affected differently from disaster, even if they live in the same household. This poses challenges for disaster risk management practitioners since information on affected population is often limited to aggregated numbers and seldom goes below the household level. However, it is also associated with opportunities. Because the better we understand what drives the differentiated outcomes of disaster impacts for different populations, the better policies and interventions can be tailored to strengthen resilience for all.

The Global Facility for Disaster Risk Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) is committed to supporting gender inclusive approaches for better disaster risk management. A new World Bank Group report, Gender Dimensions of Disaster Risk and Resilience – Existing Evidence, financed by GFDRR, shows how disaster impacts often reflect, and reinforce, gender inequality. This happens because the conditions driving disaster impacts are influenced by gender dynamics of society. A global study finds that women’s mortality from disasters tends to be higher in relation to that of men in countries where women have lower socioeconomic status.

To understand the relationship between gender and disaster risk and resilience, the report presents a non-linear framework.

  • Disaster impacts (orange circle) depend on hazard type and intensity, exposure (who and what is at risk of being affected), levels of vulnerability (susceptibility to damage), preparedness and coping capacity.

  • Gender inequality (purple circle) arises from the expected roles of men and women in a society, which influence socioeconomic status, level of agency, and the way men and women prepare for, react to, are impacted by, and recover from, disasters.

  • In the overlay (maroon area) between gender inequality and disaster impacts are the factors that drive disaster impGender-differentiated impacts of disasters can exacerbate gender inequality, which in turn can worsen resilience to future disasters impacts of disasters can exacerbate gender inequality, which in turn can worsen resilience to future disasters.

That is why disaster risk management policies and interventions should operate in the overlay area, using the tools available for mitigating disaster impacts and strengthening resilience to close the gender gap in outcomes. This means good disaster risk management should consider ways in which gender dynamics influence disaster impacts in any given area before making decisions on policy or project design.

Based on the framework, the report looks at the role of gender in disaster impacts more broadly ─ from health and education to employment and assets to gender-based violence and child marriage. The report goes a step further than previous studies looking at gender and disasters by covering the role of gender in resilience ─ including disaster preparedness and coping capacity. Some of the key takeaways are:

The report identifies crucial policy actions that can be taken before, during and after a disaster to mitigate gender-differentiated impacts of disasters.

Finally, the report lays out key analytical and operational priorities to enhance this agenda, including:

  • Understand what does and does not work for different population groups by investing more in rigorous impact evaluations and assessments for designing projects.

  • Make resources and guidance available to facilitate gender gap assessments in disaster risk management at the country and project level.

  • Promote sex and age disaggregated data collection in post-disaster assessments and other disaster related data collection.

  • Leverage new data and technologies—such as mobility data—to explore topics, previously understudied, including gendered evacuation patterns and behaviors.here.

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