Access to resilient infrastructure

Access to resilient infrastructure


Women carrying child surrounded by cyclone damage
UN Women/Fahad Kaizer

Access to resilient infrastructure is essential for ensuring women’s resilience notably in areas at risk of sudden-onset disaster events (e.g. flooding, earthquakes, cyclones, landslides). This includes adopting structural measures to reduce damage and loss of life for women and girls in their homes and whilst using community facilities (e.g. markets, schools) as well as ensuring accessibly (e.g. for women with disabilities), convenience and safety.  It is critical that women and other high-risk groups participate in the design and construction of infrastructure projects. Investment in public and private infrastructure that meets the priorities of diverse groups of women, does not expose them to further risk, meets universal design standards, and is resilient to potential hazards is therefore a priority. 

Infrastructure resilience is not just about structural measures but ensuring gender-responsive non-structural measures such as operating and governance systems. For example, UN Women through its Markets for Change programme is building the leadership and participation of rural and urban women market vendors in Market Vendor Associations as well as building their preparedness through developing market resilience action plans and associated measures (e.g. emergency practice drills).

Post-disaster recovery and reconstruction provides an opportunity for gender-responsive and inclusive “building-forward better”. This means that women’s infrastructure needs are met, including priority-setting on which types of infrastructure should be reconstructed first.  For example, large roads may serve the socioeconomic needs of men in their gendered work roles, but women may see more immediate need for footpaths, health centres, schools, and childcare facilities (UN Joint Study, 2021). With any infrastructure project, women should have equal access to employment opportunities and should be treated equally whilst working on infrastructure projects. 

To find out more on women's access to resilient infrastructure, have a look at our key tools, publications, case studies, and WRD expert insights.

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