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Disasters and violence against women and girls: can disasters shake social norms and power relations?

Research report

Written by Virginie Le Masson

Hero image description: A woman from Singla village extracts her belongings from the rubble, Nepal, 2015 Image credit:Asian Development Bank Image license:CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Post-disaster contexts are often characterised by the aggravation of discriminatory norms, social inequalities and gender-based violence, particularly against women and girls. Disasters cause suffering and damage but they also provide opportunities for those affected to transform the way they live, from assuming new responsibilities to voicing their rights and interests. This working paper explores the impacts of disasters on power relations and gendered norms and discusses how resulting changes in social relations affect people's resilience.

By highlighting knowledge gaps, the authors aim to better understand why and how resilience programming can integrate social dimensions of vulnerability, including the risk of violence, and foster more equal power relations. 

Virginie Le Masson, Sheri Lim, Mirianna Budimir and Jasna Selih Podboj