Women’s Meaningful Participation and Leadership in Managing Livelihoods and Community Resilience-Building

Disasters and climate change disproportionately affect women more than men due to less access and control over resources and opportunities that can lead to more resilient lives and livelihoods. Social and cultural gender norms and expectations may also affect their level of participation in formal spaces where decisions are made on community disaster preparedness and management. (Robles et al., 2019)

Disaster risk management programs and interventions may also not address the gender-specific needs and capacities of the community, which may reinforce gender inequalities and increase the vulnerabilities of women. Increasing women’s participation and leadership in disaster risk planning and management ensures that their capacities are considered, and their needs are addressed.

One of the goals of the Philippines: Increasing the Resilience to Natural Hazards (INCREASE) project, is to strengthen the disaster preparedness and risk reduction capacities of communities through creating resilient livelihoods for poor female-headed households. It aims to help women gain social recognition and increase their involvement in decision-making processes in the community. The project is guided by CARE’s Gender Equality Framework (Figure 1) which posits that in order to improve gender equality, interventions should aim to build the agency of women, change the power relations through which they live their lives, and transform social, political, and economic structures that affect their lives. (CARE, 2020)

The INCREASE Project, led by CARE Philippines, was implemented with local partners Agri-Aqua Development Coalition Mindanao (AADC Mindanao), Assistance and Cooperation for Community Resilience and Development, Inc. (ACCORD), Cordillera Disaster Response and Development Services (CorDis RDS), and Leyte Center for Development, Inc. (LCDE). INCREASE is also guided by the Integrated Risk Management (IRM) Framework which combines strategies from Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), Climate Change Adaptation (CCA), and Ecosystem Management and Restoration (EMR) to increase community resilience.

This research brief presents the INCREASE Project’s key strategies, challenges and lessons learned in promoting women’s meaningful participation and leadership in managing livelihoods and community resilience-building.]


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