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
Untapped Potential: Adolescents Affected by Armed Conflict
25 Aug 2022 - Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children
This study considers the health, education, livelihood, protection and psychological and social needs of adolescents uprooted by armed conflict.
Cross-Organizational Commitments to Gender and Youth within the Food Crisis
01 Sep 2022, GMT -4 - Mercy Corps , Save the Children
Amid an evolving food crisis, GAYA and partners will discuss strategies to design programs that protect progress around gender and youth.
Gender and Youth Associate Award (GAYA) Survey on Gender and Youth Integration
25 Aug 2022 - Mercy Corps
Are you interested in reflecting on your organization's internal capacity gaps for gender and youth integration?
Empowering Adolescent Girls and Young Women to Build Resilience
19 Aug 2022 - USAID Integrated Community Agriculture and Nutrition Activity , Implemented by Abt Associates
The ICAN Activity works with community structures to confront imbalances that undermine women’s economic opportunities and influence in communities.