BRIDGE Update: Gender and natural disasters. Issue No. 93, August 2012

BRIDGE Update: Gender and natural disasters. Issue No. 93, August 2012

Publication Date: Aug 2012
BRIDGE Update: Gender and natural disasters
Issue No. 93, August 2012
Past issues of the update are available at:
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In This Issue:

I. BRIDGE updates: recent activities and publications
a. Rio +20: What does it all mean?
b. BRIDGE Social Movements Programme
c. SendasAL - Gender and inequalities in Latin America
d. BRIDGE online survey

II. Upcoming events and other news
a. Rio + 20 outcome document
b. AWID Rio+20 webpage

c. DAWN Rio+20 analysis

III. Quick Guide: global resources on gender and natural disasters

I. BRIDGE updates: recent activities and publications
a. Rio +20: What does it all mean?

A month on and the much anticipated Rio +20 has sunk virtually without trace. Whilst the Brazilian hosts declared the talks a success, women’s organisations, farmers’, young people, indigenous peoples, environmental and climate change groups as well as trade unions see it as woefully inadequate, a shopping list of wants, rather than a call to action. As Hala Yousry, from the Women’s Group said in the final intervention ‘The Rio outcome document does not give us the urgently-needed means to address the massive challenges of our times.’

This blog by George Aboud, BRIDGE Gender Convenor, looks at the absence of women’s rights in the Rio +20 outcome document and ways to move forward:

b. BRIDGE Social Movements Programme
Our latest Cutting Edge programme aims to inspire and support collaborative approaches to mobilisation around shared equity and justice concerns, promoting the inclusion of gender equality principles and practices within these approaches. Ultimately we want to help build more effective social movements, better able to create positive transformation. We have been continuing to work with our programme advisory group, and recent activities include:

- Four e-discussions involving the programme’s communities of practice; groups of activists, scholars and practitioners from a range of global regions. One of the discussions was conducted in Spanish and was run by our partners in Uruguay on the SendasAL website. Another involved young feminists and activists and was run in partnership with the AWID Young Feminist Activism initiative. The e-discussions have generated a wealth of evidence on the challenges and opportunities for more collaborative work between movements. This evidence will play a key role in the Cutting Edge Pack and other programme outputs.
- Two inter-movement dialogues: one at the Social Watch global assembly in July 2011, bringing together prominent figures in both the women’s movement and other social justice movement to discuss their experiences and views on gender and social movements; and one at the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) forum in April 2012, involving the leaders of organisations at the centre of economic justice movements. Film footage of both events can be found at:

The Cutting Edge Pack on gender and social movements will be published in autumn 2013. You can find out more about the programme here:

c. SendasAL - Gender and inequalities in Latin America
In response to our audience requests for not only translating our materials into non-English languages but also adding context-specific content, last year BRIDGE started a project in partnership with the gender and development section of CIEDUR, an NGO based in Uruguay. By joining forces, BRIDGE and CIEDUR have created a solid web platform called SendasAL ( which supports the sharing of research and knowledge in the region with policy-makers and practitioners. The platform is contributing towards gender equality, poverty reduction and social justice in the region, and aims to have an extensive and sustainable impact on policy and practice.

SendasAL provides a new web space in Spanish that hosts materials from BRIDGE Cutting Edge Programmes and resources identified by CIEDUR on the same thematic areas, and produced by Latin American organisations, governments and institutions. Such resources include case studies, good practice examples, research papers and reports. The site is constantly updated with new materials and is connected to an active community of users through Twitter and Facebook. SendasAL is currently featuring pages on gender sensitive indicators, care and the care economy and gender and governance. A section on the gender implications of climate change will soon be added.

If you want to suggest resources to be linked to SendasAL, you want to subscribe to receive their bulletin, or want to become part of their Twitter or Facebook community, please visit or write to

d. Take part in our online survey
Later this year, BRIDGE will be celebrating its 20th anniversary. In preparation for this, and to help us plan our work for the future, we'd like to hear your thoughts and views about BRIDGE products and services. If you have 10 minutes to spare please take part in our online survey.

II. Upcoming events and other news:
a. Direct link to full 53-page Rio + 20 outcome document:

b. AWID Rio+20 webpage
The Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) has created a new page on its website dedicated to information regarding Rio+20 - The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD)
The page hosts what was discussed at the conference, what the outcomes were and how these affect women and women’s rights.

c. DAWN Rio+20 analysis
‘Governments gamble with our future. South feminists demand responsible action now’, Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN), 2012
While governments were locked in their semantic battles in the Rio+20 process, women’s and other social movements continue to fight on multiple fronts for human rights, justice and sustainability. These struggles take place on diverse territories and geographies including the body, land, oceans and waterways, communities, states, and epistemological grounds. Each of these terrains is fraught with the resurgent forces of patriarchy, finance capitalism, neo-conservatism, consumerism, militarism and extractivism.

III. Quick guide: global resources on gender and natural disasters
Through our engagement with the subject of gender and climate change, the focus of our previous Update issue, we were inspired to further explore the gender implications of natural disasters, looking particularly at post-disaster cases, and adding these resources to the BRIDGE Global Resources Database.

Evidence suggests that natural disasters have a more pronounced impact on women than men - there are often more female than male fatalities in disaster situations and in the aftermath, women are more likely to be denied adequate health care, relief aid or compensation. They are also more likely to face ongoing economic vulnerability. At the same time, women represent an immense force to combat climate change-associated disaster risks as they possess crucial knowledge and have proven to be skilled community mobilisers. After the 2004 tsunami, for example, women in India formed groups to provide a range of public services, including the coordination of disaster preparedness and post-disaster rescue activities. Women’s groups from other parts of India and abroad visited the tsunami-affected areas, providing valuable opportunities to share post-disaster rebuilding strategies. Despite success stories such as these, recovery and reconstruction efforts often exclude women from decision-making roles.

The resources we have collected - literature and multimedia resources on gender and natural disasters from a variety of governmental and nongovernmental organisations - include links to online literature, tools, documentary, and commentary. There are also recommendations for including women in pre- and post-disaster planning, ensuring their physical safety, protecting girls’ education; targeting women’s health needs (particularly sexual and reproductive health); ensuring equal aid distribution; and bringing women into all decision-making reconstruction processes in the long and short-term.

The following resources have been selected from a number of new additions to our Global Resources Database:

‘Making women's voices count: integrating gender issues in disaster risk management in East Asia and Pacific’, World Bank, 2011
This series of five Guidance Notes (with a summary also available to download) is the result of extensive field research in South-East Asia by the Infrastructure and Social Development teams of the World Bank. The subject of the research concerns the integration of gender issues in Disaster Risk Management (DRM), addressing key issues and bottlenecks.

Documentary film: ‘Resilient women: women become change makers after five years of tsunami’, Grassroots Organisations Operating Together in Sisterhood (GROOTS) and Swayam Shikshan Prayog (SSP), 2010
This film depicts women survivors of the 2004 tsunami in the south of India, who are part of subsequently formed self-help organisations. It chronicles the organisations’ reconstruction strategies to meet immediate needs and long-term development goals. It shows how the self-help groups complemented public recovery efforts by providing basic healthcare, civic services and disaster preparedness capacity building activities.

‘Haiti gender shadow report: ensuring Haitian women's participation and leadership in all stages of national relief and reconstruction’, Haiti Equality Collective, 2010
This coalition gender shadow report, written by women from diverse backgrounds working in Haitian communities and the international arena, calls on the government to implement a more gender-aware needs assessment for all stakeholders involved in Haiti's reconstruction, following the earthquake in 2010, and also makes human rights-based gender intervention recommendations.

‘Guide to gender-aware post-disaster needs assessment’, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery, 2010
This guide is designed to identify and assess the post-disaster needs of women, girls, boys and men across sectors. Produced by UNDP, it builds on the efforts of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) as well as inputs from a range of other international organisations.

Website: IV Congreso Internacional sobre Género y Desastres, Bógota (Spanish) (IV International Conference on Gender and Disasters), Gender and Disaster Network - Latin America and the Caribbean, 2012
This is the official website of the IV International Conference on Gender and Disasters, which took place in Bógota, Colombia in May 2012. The purpose of this initiative is to reduce gender inequalities that make women more vulnerable in disaster contexts, and to highlight successful experiences of integrating a gender perspective in disaster risk mitigation.

Blog: ‘Gender and reconstruction’ (Spanish), Observatorio de Género y Equidad (Gender and Equity Observatory), 2012
Chile’s Gender and Equity Observatory (comprised of 20 civil society organisations) blog site contains a wealth of resources on gender and reconstruction, including a number of articles related to the 2010 Chilean earthquake and reconstruction efforts.

You can find other resources on gender and natural disasters at:

Please also visit the archive section to view past Quick Guide selections:

This BRIDGE Update was edited by Angela de Prairie.