Disaster risk reduction

Disaster risk reduction (DRR) involves reducing disaster risks through efforts to analyse and reduce their causes. Gender-sensitive disaster risk reduction refers to analysing and taking into account the roles and relationships of women and men formed by gender norms within a given culture and society. It requires specific attention to women’s rights and gender equality as part of proactive and people-centred approach to reducing risks and vulnerabilities.

Disasters affect women, girls, boys and men in different ways. Gender inequalities increase women’s vulnerability and limit their access to the information and resources they need to reduce the risks posed by disasters.

The international community has recognized the need for, and has committed to, a strong focus on gender equality and women’s rights in disaster risk reduction. This can be done through gender-sensitive policymaking, monitoring and evaluation as well as integrating gender in vulnerability, risk and capacity assessments. Furthermore, it requires furthering women’s participation and leadership in disaster management, and promoting the collection and use of sex- and age-disaggregated information and data.

Our solutions

In several countries, we work hand-in-hand with governments and civil society to strengthen the role of women in disasters.

In Viet Nam for example, after disaster-management training for women, coupled with national lobbying, a Government decree was issued in September 2013 provides an official space for their Women’s Union in decision-making boards of the Committee for Flood and Storm Control.

After disasters such as the 2014 Floods in Serbia and Bosnia Herzegovina, UN Women deploys gender advisors and proactively seeks to ensure they are included in the recovery planning, including planning of disaster risk reduction efforts.

In Pakistan, after the 2010 and 2011 floods, UN Women contributed to the establishment of the Gender and Child Cell (GCC) in the National Disaster Management Authority and it became permanent in 2011. UN Women also assisted in setting up provincial cells in Sindh, Balochistan and Punjab and within the State Disaster Management Authority (DMA) of Pakistan-administered Kashmir. Also, a Women’s Desk was established in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. The GCC provides guidance on gender-responsive policy and planning and integrates gender equality, child protection and concerns of vulnerable groups in disaster risk reduction and disaster management planning. Supported by UN Women, the GCC created the National Policy Guidelines on Vulnerable Groups in Disasters.

In Kenya, in view of the discussions for the drafting and approval of a Bill on Disaster Risk, UN Women provided comprehensive technical support to Kenyan women parliamentarians to advocate for the inclusion of gender equality and women's empowerment in the Bill. It consisted of the analysis of laws and policies, the development of information and communication tools such as technical policy briefs, advocacy packs and gender fact sheets, and direct technical support to the Parliamentarians. The Bill is still under discussion.

At the global level, UN Women is also supporting stronger attention to gender dimensions of disasters.For the Post-2015 Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, adopted in Sendai, Japan, in March 2015, UN Women provided, along with civil society organizations and other UN entities, technical support to Member States and the Secretariat at the Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction , including issuing key recommendations as well as a sector brief on Gender-Responsive Disaster Risk Reduction, raising awareness about gender equality and the empowerment of women in natural disasters. In particular, UN Women has advocated for strengthened language related to women’s equal participation and leadership, increased collection and use of sex- and age-disaggregated data, gender analysis as well as gender-responsive targets and indicators as central priorities in the Post-2015 Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

Online training

UN Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction logo

Disaster risk reduction tutorial

This free online tutorial aims to help countries understand, design and adopt a new framework at the Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in March 2015 in Sendai, Japan. Register ►