Women’s Leadership in Disaster Preparedness

Project: Learning Project 6th June 2018

Women bring a wealth of knowledge and resources to disaster preparedness, yet their existing capacities as leaders are often not recognised. International frameworks emphasise the importance of women’s leadership as a requirement for effective humanitarian action, but women remain underrepresented in decision-making roles. This research explores women as leaders and decision-makers within the Disasters and Emergencies Preparedness Programme (DEPP) and its networks. It provides examples of how women are currently involved in decision-making, examines the effects of women’s leadership, identifies drivers, enablers and barriers, and provides an insight into why investing in women as leaders is important.  Key findings emerging from this research are:

  • There are different approaches to increasing the proportion of women in organisational leadership and at the grassroots
  • Women affected by disasters have a right to participate in the decisions that affect their lives
  • Evidence of whether women leaders advance equality for other women is mixed. At the grassroots, women leaders can ensure the specific needs of women and vulnerable groups are accounted for
  • There are multiple barriers to increasing the number of women in leadership
  • There are Strategies in place to increase women’s leadership – but more can be done


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