Disasters affect women, men, boys, and girls in different ways. Socio-economic conditions, traditional practices, and cultural beliefs, often mean that women and their children are disproportionately affected; facing increased risk of death, injury, loss of livelihoods and sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). Gender inequality and discrimination limit women and girls’ access to resources and influence over decisions governing their lives. Attention to gender issues and SGBV in disaster risk management are critical to building disaster resilience and creating safer and more inclusive environments.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has produced a series of new reports which aims to help fill a knowledge gap on the effectiveness of national laws, policies and institutional frameworks in supporting gender equality in disaster risk management and preventing and responding to SGBV in disasters.

Based on global research and three country case studies – undertaken in Ecuador, Nepal and Zimbabwe – a global synthesis report considers national laws and the experiences of disaster-affected communities, looking at their effectiveness in protection against SGBV and ensuring gender equality in humanitarian response.

Taking a broader look at disaster risk management laws and gender, based on international comparative research, the report concludes that States should look to include mandates for gender sensitive procedures, SGBV protection, and a minimum representation women in system institutions, and to have this outlined in their laws. The report includes recommendations to governments and the international humanitarian community, including for the Red Cross and other international organizations.

The three country case studies map the legal and policy landscape related to gender, disaster risk management and SGBV in each country, and offers recommendations based on learnings from recent disasters in each of the three contexts.

For more information, contact disaster.law@ifrc.org