Photo credit: UN Women/Fahad Kaizer
Women’s participation in decision-making is enshrined in international human rights frameworks including the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women, yet there is still great disparity in the number of women playing a leadership role in disaster risk management.
Gender discrimination limits the control that women and girls have over decisions that govern their lives, as well as their access to resources and opportunities. This heightens their exposure to risk, which often results in women and girls experiencing higher mortality, morbidity and loss of livelihoods during disasters. Disasters exacerbate pre-existing gender inequalities and compound intersecting forms of discrimination against, for example, women living with disabilities, women living in poverty, and women with diverse gender identities and sexual orientations. Yet the vulnerability and exposure of women and girls to disaster risk is economically, socially and culturally constructed and can be reduced.
Women make up less than a quarter of national-level committees established to respond to COVID-19.
Source: CARE (Fuhrman, Sarah, and Rhodes, Francesca “Where are the women? The conspicuous absence of women in COVID-19 response teams and plans, and why we need them”, CARE, June 2020)
Data from 133 countries shows that women constitute 2.18 million (36 per cent) of elected members in local deliberative bodies. Only two countries have reached 50 per cent.
Source: United Nations Statistics Division. United Nations Global SDG Database. Data as of 1 January 2020
Countries led by women have been more successful in reducing COVID-19 transmission and have suffered six times fewer confirmed death from COVID-19 as countries with governments led by men.
Source: Fioramonti, Lorenzo, et al.,
"Women in Power: It’s a Matter of Life and Death", Social Europe, June 2020.
Well-designed disaster risk reduction initiatives that provide for women’s full and effective participation can advance gender equality and women’s empowerment, while achieving sustainable development and disaster risk reduction objectives.
The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction outlines the inclusive, all-of-society approach that must be taken to reduce disaster risk. It acknowledges both the specific vulnerabilities that women face in disasters, due to pervasive gender inequality that exists across all societies, while recognizing the indispensable role of women in risk reduction efforts. The Sendai Framework emphasizes that a gender equitable and universally accessible approach is key, and it calls for the mobilization of women’s leadership in building resilience.
UNDRR is committed to supporting women’s leadership in disaster risk reduction, including through the flagship Women’s International Network on Disaster Risk Reduction (WIN DRR). We know that diversity in leadership improves organizational performance, and women’s leadership can help ensure more effective, inclusive and gender-responsive disaster risk reduction.
Join the Women's International Network for DRR today!
Booklet: Women's International Network on Disaster Risk Reduction
The Women's International Network on Disaster Risk Reduction (WIN DRR) is a professional network to support women working in disaster risk reduction, in all their diversity. The overall goal of WIN DRR is to empower women to attain leadership and enhance their role in decision-making in disaster risk reduction in Asia-Pacific. This booklet aims to provide an introduction to the WIN DRR programme and its four components. WIN DRR is a programme supported by the Government of Australia and UNDRR.
Women’s leadership in risk-resilient development: good practices and lessons learned
This publication aims to shed some light on women’s capabilities to take leading roles in building disaster resilience. It features women as drivers of change in different socio-economic contexts, and under various gender conditions.