suranjana gupta

A Women’s Empowerment Perspective
Suranjana Gupta
Huairou Commission
Sustainable Livelihoods & Economic Recovery: Practitioners’
Organized by UNDP
Pondicherry, India
November, 2013
How are women vulnerable to disasters
and climate change?
Burden of caregiving
Loss of Incomes from informal work and home-based work
Reduced mobility
Poor access to basic services
Discriminatory property rights Insecure housing and land
• Violence
• Exclusion from decision making processes
Often, these vulnerabilities are not specific to disasters, they exist
in women’s everyday lives, and are exacerbated by disasters
Is women’s vulnerability the result of
their conditions or status?
Are women intrinsically vulnerable?
Should resilience building interventions focus on
transforming women’s living conditions or status?
Vulnerability is multi-dimensional
thus strategies to counter it must also
be multi-dimensional.
Economic Recovery and Resilience
• Economic recovery focuses primarily on income. But
increasingly income poverty is viewed as an inadequate
measure of deprivation and well being.
• Resilience is about reducing vulnerability and vulnerability
is multi-dimensional.
• A strong, robust, asset base cushions people from shocks.
• When using the SLF lens to analyze disaster related
interventions, it is clear that short term responses tend to
focus on protecting and replacing people’s physical and
financial assets.
For women living in poor communities their existing
asset base is too thin to protect them from the
impacts of natural hazards and climate change.
Thus building a multi-dimensional, robust, asset
base is critical to reducing their vulnerability
What kinds of interventions are needed to
empower women living in poor, disaster prone
communities, to become resilient?
What kinds of interventions have been made
to reduce women’s vulnerability to disasters
and climate change?
Swayam Shikshan Prayog, India
• Sowing the Seeds of Change
• Health Mutual
A Grassroots-Friendly Framework for Empowering
Women to Advance Resilient Development
Grassroots Women's
Organizing and
Development through
Awareness & Locallyled Initiatives
Influence and
Change Public
Policy Processes
Build Constituencies
and Networks
Key Elements of Community Resilience
603 community leaders from 7 countries
Reconfiguring women’s public roles
Distributing relief (through federations)
Managing community kitchens
Developing seed banks
Providing information assistance
Monitoring programs / services
Identifying beneficiaries
Training and transferring practice
Formalizing women’s status as farmers
Negotiating with local /national government
Further Reading
• Leading Resilient Development: Grassroots Practices, Partnership and
• Building Women’s Leadership and Fostering Collaborations for Community
Disaster Resilience (Swayam Shikshan Prayog’s Draft Report of Project
Sponsored by the World Bank, GFDRR South-South Program)
• What Communities Want: Putting Community Resilience Priorities on the
Agenda for 2015
• Face to Face with Women in Aceh
Questions & Comments?