Climate change has increased the frequency and severity of extreme weather events such as droughts, storms and floods, severely impacting livelihoods, health and human security. Disaster risk reduction (DRR), a systematic approach that prevents or mitigates the damage of disasters by preparing communities against the adverse impacts of hazards, is not gender neutral. Women, men, girls and boys experience differentiated risks and impacts that are reinforced by existing gender inequities.
Women and girls experience more material and intangible losses during disasters. Girls are made to sacrifice school to take care of the household or, far worse, they are married off in exchange for financial support. Gender-based violence (GBV) increases during crises as social protection networks dissipate, stress is exacerbated by economic loss and shelters are overwhelmed.
Studies also show that women, boys and girls are fourteen times more likely than men to die during a disaster. These statistics are global. During the crisis caused by hurricane Katrina in the United States, most of the victims trapped in New Orleans were African American women and their children, the poorest demographic group in that part of the country.
Lutheran World Relief and our Corus International family of organizations is committed to addressing crises through a gender equality and social inclusion (GESI) lens, engaging women as change agents and investing in their leadership before, during and after disasters.
To elevate women’s voices and leadership in DRR programming, Lutheran World Relief developed the IDEAL approach: intersectionality, delivery, equity, access and leadership.