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Effective law and policy on gender equality and protection from SGBV in disasters

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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 (IFRC) 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 (DRM) 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 protecting against SGBV and ensuring gender equality in humanitarian response.

Taking a broader look at DRM laws and gender, based on international comparative research, the report concludes that states should look to include mandates for gender sensitive DRM, SGBV protection, and a minimum representation women in all DRM system institutions – this should be outlined in their DRM laws. The report includes recommendations to governments and the international humanitarian community, including for the Red Cross Red Crescent and other international organisations.  

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

Access the global findings report

Access the Ecuador case study

Access the Nepal case study

Access the Zimbabwe case study

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