Enhancing the Gender Perspective in Disaster Risk Management and Climate Change in Mozambique

Type:
Final project
Year of publication:
2014
Specialisation:
Gender, Environment and Climate Change
Number of pages:
30
Supervisors: Pétur Waldorff

Abstract

Environmental disasters do not discriminate between people although people do. Women, men, girls and boys belong to different social, economic, cultural and religious strata, and thus, the way they are affected by, and cope with, environmental calamities is different. This paper argues that if Mozambique´s disaster management sector does not pay attention to gender issues, women and girls will continue to be the ones most affected by natural disasters. Not only are they more likely to lose their lives during such calamities but such disasters do also cause a double burden for women and girls, who are responsible for numerous unpaid activities, such as providing water, firewood, food and taking care of the household. However, despite these negative facts of gender inequality, the paper argues that natural disaster risk management can present an opportunity to shift the common perception that women are weak and merely victims of natural disasters, towards a perception of women that highlights their skills and capabilities to work towards the reduction of disaster risk. Thus, the paper, which is influenced by gender and development theory, reflects on how women are affected by disasters and how their skills and capacities are of value in the process of disaster risk reduction in Mozambique, in times when the effects of climate change are being increasingly felt in the form of more frequent and intensifying environmental calamities, such as floods, droughts and cyclones. Finally, it advocates the importance of a gender sensitive approach where both women and men work together towards gender equality while addressing and mitigating the risks of climate change and natural disasters.