Gender Aspects of Natural Catastrophes/Disasters


Mršević, Zorica, and Svetlana Janković. 2019. "Gender Aspects of Natural Catastrophes/Disasters." In Contemporary Issues and Perspectives on Gender Research, edited by Natalija Mićunović, 82-99. Belgrade: Institute of Social Sciences.

Authors: Zorica Mršević, Svetlana Janković


During recent decades, international humanitarian organizations and the governments of countries affected by natural catastrophes/disasters and climate change have highlighted the fact that more women lose their lives and suffer other effects of such events than men. This disparity in victim numbers is a phenomenon that is caused by – and inherently linked with – the unequal socioeconomic status of women. In alleviating disaster risks, women and men are limited to the roles and responsibilities they are afforded at home and in society. Gender roles constructed in an exclusive manner result in different personal and group identities and potentials, social responsibilities, behaviours and expectations. Thus, gender-based differentiation leads to gender inequality in all socio-economic processes, including different roles and opportunities: reductions in vulnerability and disaster risks, improved disaster management, anticipation of possible damages, and recovery from these. Due to all these differences, it is clear that women and men must participate equally in determining ways to reduce the risks of a disaster at the community level (national, regional and international) without discrimination and exclusion. The inclusion of gender experts (and aspects) in the development of gender-sensitive policies and program guidelines should be ensured. This creates a valid prerequisite for gender equality while reducing the risk of catastrophes/disasters and climate change and making community-based adaptation more effective. It is necessary to integrate gender sensitive aspects/criteria into the initiatives and processes of planning, designing, implementing, monitoring and evaluating risk reduction programs and projects. In order to adapt to climate change and mitigate the consequences stemming from this, but also to reduce the risk of catastrophes/disasters, parameters must be established pertaining to the needs and interests of women. These needs are a prerequisite for supporting women’s independent initiatives and for the financing of environmentally-friendly technologies for the sustainable use of natural resources.

Keywords: natural catastrophes/disasters, climate change, gender roles, gender responsibility, prevention, recovery, building resistance, prirodne katastrofe/nepogode, klimatske promene, rodne uloge, rodne odgovornosti prevencija, oporavak, izgradnja otpornosti

Topics: Environment, Climate Change, Environmental Disasters, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality

Year: 2019

© 2023 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at