Gender equity and inclusion influences resilience from the global level to the community and household level, increasing everyone’s ability to cope with shocks.
The Complexities of Gender in the Face of Stress
Gender-based inequalities and vulnerabilities impact people’s exposure to shocks and access to resources to manage shocks. Yet, these gender-specific impacts should not be overgeneralized because they depend on individual, household, community, institutional and sociocultural contexts. They way men and women experience and respond to shocks also depends on the type of shock(s) to which they are exposed.
Resilience interventions should draw on evidence — including the appropriate project-level, sex-desegregated data — in order to promote gender equity and social inclusion and ensure that vulnerable groups, such as women, are not excluded from project benefits or even further marginalized over the course of interventions. When resilience interventions are done right, they can bolster gender equity and set women on a trajectory to achieve greater power and resilience than they had before.
Gender-Based Differences in the Face of Shocks and Stressors
Gender-based differences in vulnerability, mobility, time use and ownership/control of financial resources affect how people cope with shocks and stressors. Men and women can experience vulnerability from different sources:
Men tend to be more vulnerable to migration risks.
Men are often at greater risk of recruitment by extremist groups.
Women often are at greater risk of adjusting food consumption patterns following a shock or stress, which may adversely impact maternal and child nutrition.
Women are at greater risk of gender-based violence following a shock or stressor.
Women’s assets are less likely than men’s to be kept in bank accounts, so women’s assets are more likely to be lost during a crisis.
Women often face an increased domestic work burden during a disaster or crisis.
In developed countries, men face more risks associated with first-responder work during disasters; in developing countries, women face risks associated with lack of access to warning information, transportation and shelter during disasters.
Boys may be vulnerable to leaving school when their families need their labor.
Girls may be vulnerable to leaving school when their families cannot afford tuition.
Empowering Women Empowers Communities
Women are more reticent than men to use their assets to manage shocks and stresses, for fear of falling into chronic poverty. Empowering women has been found to be particularly influential to household resilience. Women’s empowerment tends to reduce women’s use of negative coping mechanisms. Furthermore, households where women have more decision-making power are more likely to have more food security and social capital.
"Insights from Seven Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia"
Building the Evidence Base
A growing body of evidence shows the importance of gender equity and social inclusion as a resilience capacity. Following 2014 flooding exposure, Bangladeshi women with high empowerment scores maintained household food security longer than women with low empowerment scores. A study in Somalia found similar results. Women’s empowerment was significantly and positively associated with proactive coping strategies.
Current research has almost exclusively focused on women’s empowerment in building resilience. Future research should focus on differentiating vulnerabilities and capacities of men and boys as well. This may help us better understand how gender dynamics interact with resilience.
Take a deep dive into gender equity and resilience with these resources, which are referenced by links in the text above.
More About Gender Equity
IDEAL Knowledge Sharing Series: Humanitarian-Development-Peace Coherence
01 Jun 2022, GMT -4 - IDEAL Activity
"A Collective Journey Towards Humanitarian-Development-Peace Coherence"
Feed the Future Advancing Women's Empowerment Program: Increasing Women's Roles in Agricultural Decision-making
11 Apr 2022 - Feed the Future Advancing Women's Empowerment (AWE) Program, implemented by EnCompass
The AWE activity aims to enhance gender equality by increasing women’s participation, productivity, profit and benefit in agricultural systems.
Learning Initiative on Women’s Empowerment, Access to Finance, and Sustainable Fisheries: Ghana Case Study
11 Apr 2022 - USAID/Ghana Sustainable Fisheries Management Project (SMFP), implemented by the University of Rhode Island
The USAID/Ghana SMFP aimed to promote the adoption of responsible fishing practices and to reduce child labor and trafficking in Ghana’s Central Region.
The Gender Dimensions of Forced Displacement: New Evidence to Guide Policy
17 Mar 2022, GMT -4 - The World Bank Gender Dimensions of Forced Displacement Program
Violent conflict and the increasing threat of climate change are driving forced displacement to unprecedented levels.