Gender Mainstreaming in Drought Management
Each year, drought negatively affects millions of people worldwide, bringing significant damage to environment, economies and livelihoods. A complex natural hazard that can occurs in any part of the world, drought has both natural and social aspects, and it is the social dimension that transforms drought into disaster. In any region, the risks associated with drought are a product of both the region’s exposure to the event and the vulnerability of local society to drought. Women as a social group are the subject of particular concern when it comes to drought, since most current national drought management policies are not gender-responsive, even though women are acknowledged both as important stockholders and as a target group in drought risk-management activities. The assumption that negative impacts of drought have similar effects on both women and men has existed for a long time. However, it is now recognized that women and men are affected by drought differently, and that gender inequalities diminish women’s capacity to cope with drought. It has been acknowledged that women are important holders of droughtrelated adaptation and risk reduction knowledge and skills. Therefore, there is an urgent need to adopt gender-responsive approaches in drought preparedness policy making and programming to enable the crucial role of women as actors in drought-risk management initiatives.