Gender Equity

Gender equity influences household and community resilience by increasing everyone’s ability to cope with shocks.

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women carrying grain

Gender-based inequalities and vulnerabilities impact people’s exposure to shocks and access to resources to manage them.

Approach

There are notable gender-based differences in vulnerability, mobility, time use, and ownership/control of financial resources. All of this affects how people cope with a particular shock or stress.

Men and women can experience vulnerability from different sources. Men are generally more vulnerable to migration risks and recruitment to extremist groups. Women often have less control over assets and face biology-related vulnerabilities. These differences affect their response to shocks. For example, women are more likely to adjust consumption patterns following a shock or stress—by eating less preferred foods and/or reducing consumption which can adversely impact maternal and child nutrition. 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 with higher levels of empowerment are less likely to use negative coping mechanisms. Households where women have more decision-making power are more likely to have more food security and social capital.

Evidence

A growing body of evidence shows the importance of women’s empowerment as a resilience capacity. Following 2014 flooding exposure, Bangladeshi women with high empowerment 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.

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