Gender equality in the context of multi-hazard early warning systems and disaster risk reduction

Article


Pudmenzky, Christa, Lisk, Ian, Vitols, Lisa, Ribero, Claudia, Millar, Branwen, Steinbach, Rahel, Bannon, Victoria, Drew, Rosanna, Allis, Erica, Sjaavik, Lina, Gallasch, Stephanie, Tripathi, Ramesh and Tapia, Barbara. 2022. "Gender equality in the context of multi-hazard early warning systems and disaster risk reduction." WMO Bulletin. 71 (1), pp. 24-29.
Article Title

Gender equality in the context of multi-hazard early warning systems and disaster risk reduction

Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsPudmenzky, Christa, Lisk, Ian, Vitols, Lisa, Ribero, Claudia, Millar, Branwen, Steinbach, Rahel, Bannon, Victoria, Drew, Rosanna, Allis, Erica, Sjaavik, Lina, Gallasch, Stephanie, Tripathi, Ramesh and Tapia, Barbara
Journal TitleWMO Bulletin
Journal Citation71 (1), pp. 24-29
Number of Pages6
Year2022
PublisherWorld Meteorological Organization
Place of PublicationSwitzerland
ISSN 0042-9767
Web Address (URL)https://library.wmo.int/records/item/46824-vol-71-1-2022
Abstract

The impacts of severe hydrometeorological events are not gender neutral. Gender, along with class, race, age and other intersecting social identities, contributes to shaping the roles, power and resources available to women, men and non-binary in any culture, including the resources necessary for resilience. Women, for example, are often directly responsible for the care of children, sick or older family members and are thus less likely to be able or willing to evacuate alone or may delay evacuation to rescue family members or valuables.
Furthermore, women are often placed at greater risk through a lack of timely and relevant information about imminent hazards. Women often do not have equal access to technology, communication and services, and thus miss out on critical information. This is particularly true for women and other marginalized groups in rural or isolated areas. The channels through which women and men get information from also differs. A study in Nepal determined that 71% of men received early warning information through a formal source, such as government or nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), whereas 51% of women received their information through informal social sources such as word of mouth from community or family members.
A UN Women-UNICEF study focusing on the missing voices of women in disaster risk reduction (DRR) efforts confirmed that gender norms and barriers to their participation affect women’s vulnerability to disasters. Women’s higher illiteracy rates, lower mobility rates and limited access to communications technology, including radios and mobile phones through which early warnings tend to be communicated, all increase their vulnerability. Men also tend to be considered household decision-makers, which can put women at risk. In some cases, women remain at home because their husbands have decided not to evacuate or to wait for their husband to return before leaving. Due to gender-specific roles and expectations, women are more likely to be at home when disaster risks arise and to take on the responsibility for evacuating their family to safety.
Moreover, the needs of women are inadequately met and their gender-specific contributions and solutions remain unleveraged because their voices are often absent in the design and decision-making processes for multi hazard early warning systems (MHEWS). When women in all their diversity are actively engaged in the development and implementation of disaster management laws, policies, operational plans and procedures and MHEWS identify and address the diverse needs of different groups, DRR efforts become more inclusive and accessible and, ultimately, more successful. Despite growing recognition by international institutions and development practitioners that a gender lens is crucial to understand and promote resilience to climate and security risks, it has yet to be meaningfully applied to research and in practice in climate resilience and DRR efforts (Ide et al., 2021). This article explores what WMO, the United Nation Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) and UN Women are learning with regard to gender evaluations in DRR and early warning systems (EWS), and how UN partners are working together to better support Members.

KeywordsGender equality; disaster risk reduction; early warning systems
Contains Sensitive ContentDoes not contain sensitive content
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020370108. Meteorology
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Byline AffiliationsUniversity of Southern Queensland
Met Office, United Kingdom
Environment and Climate Change, Canada
Servicio Meteorológico Naciona, Argentina
World Meteorological Organization, Switzerland
Humanitarian Consulting, Australia
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