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Career barriers and motivations for women and men in disaster risk reduction in Asia-Pacific

May 2023
Gender data

This publication explores enablers and barriers to women’s careers and leadership aspirations in disaster risk reduction (DRR), the ways in which workplace outcomes are different for women and men, the understanding of what predicts these differential outcomes and what opportunities there are to redress them. 

The results of this research suggest the day-to-day experiences of DRR professionals shape their career motivations and ambition, their well-being and their desire to stay within the profession. While there are many commonalities in women and men’s experiences in DRR, there are also key differences. The report identified barriers to women’s career advancement, well-being and longevity in DRR including but not limited to: women’s lower willingness to sacrifice for their careers (likely influenced by lower expectations that these sacrifices will be rewarded), care demands placed on women with children, organisational constraints on women’s workplace authenticity, lower work-life balance and lower quality professional relationships with co-workers and especially senior colleagues. The study also uncovered barriers to men’s well-being in DRR, particularly in regard to their experiences of bullying, burnout and desire to leave the profession. Importantly, the findings also offer insight into what organisations and the DRR profession more broadly can do to improve women and men’s career outcomes in DRR.