Why Mobilising Women's Leadership is Critical to Effective Disaster Risk Reduction

Research output: Contribution to conference typesAbstractpeer-review


Disasters don't discriminate, but people do. Research reveals that disasters reinforce, perpetuate and increase gender inequality in terms of loss of livelihoods, gender-based violence, and even levels of mortality during, and in the aftermath, of disasters, making situations worse for women. This has been attributed to existing socio-economic conditions, cultural beliefs and traditional practices and neglecting their potential contributions to disaster risk reduction (DRR). Women are often the drivers, strong networkers, managers, organizers and caretakers in the community, playing a constructive and productive role in DRR. There are plenty of success stories of women's achievements in reducing disaster risk and in building resilience at the community level. Nevertheless, women tend to be categorized as "victims" and as a "vulnerable group" in need of protection from the impact of disasters, failing to recognize women's capabilities and contribution to DRR and to promote their leadership, and role as change agents in building community resilience to disasters. This is evident from where all DRR decisions are taken by men. Hence, the empowerment of women is considered as critical ingredient in building disaster resilience. While progress has been made in the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA), it is widely recognized that serious gaps and challenges remain in delivering on the international community's commitments to gender equalityand women's rights in DRR efforts. Engagement and leadership of women as change agents in their societies are still often overlooked in disaster risk management. Within this context, this paper presents the findings of a recent study in setting the case for women leadership in disaster risk reduction, including good practices, barriers and recommendations.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 14 Dec 2020
EventInternational Symposium on Multi-Hazard Early Warning and Disaster Risk Reduction: Symposium Book of Abstracts and Proceedings - Colombo, Sri Lanka
Duration: 14 Dec 202016 Dec 2020


ConferenceInternational Symposium on Multi-Hazard Early Warning and Disaster Risk Reduction
Country/TerritorySri Lanka
Internet address


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