Women’s role in disaster risk reduction and management discussed

Evidence shows that vulnerability and poverty are closely aligned with gender inequality; and women, therefore, are more frequent victims of natural disasters than men. However, on the positive side, mainstreaming gender considerations into disaster preparedness and education contributes significantly to reducing disaster impacts and improving sustainable development.

In many cases, women have limited access to formal disaster management mechanisms for disaster preparedness and prevention. Furthermore, their skills, experiences, and capabilities in times of natural catastrophes are often not adequately identified, recognized and promoted, as their participation in disaster risk reduction (DRR) decision-making processes throughout the world are low. Hence, an effective gender-sensitive DRR strategy should take into better account women’s vulnerabilities in specific cultures without forgetting to highlight their potential and capabilities to prepare, confront, respond and recover from disasters.

Keeping these issues in mind, UNESCO, in collaboration with the Women Friendly Disaster Management Core Group (WFDM), organized a virtual discussion on 24 August 2021 on the role of women in preventing, reducing, managing and responding to disasters from the front lines. The event was broadcast live through WFDM’s Facebook page and has so far received 200,000 views and 56 shares, plus over 100 appreciative comments.

“The roles women play during disasters are significant in reconstructing, rehabilitating and providing psycho-social counselling both before and after a disaster,” stated UNESCO’s Balaram Timalsina. He also shared details of UNESCO’s interventions and how the organisation advocates for integrating gender equality and social inclusion (GESI) while also working for disaster preparedness.

Similarly, Anita Niraula, Joint Secretary, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Authority, shared the government’s policies and programmes on women’s roles in disaster risk reduction and management, both its challenges and the way forward. Advocate Sabin Shrestha shared the legal provision for women’s involvement in this sector and highlighted the gaps in GESI, DRR management.

“I highly appreciate the support of UNESCO in this field and WFDM will continuous to collaborate with UNESCO and the government.”, said Chief of the event, Chandani Joshi from WFDM.

This event was supported by UNESCO’s CapED Literacy Programme, which is funded by Finland, France, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Dubai Cares.


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