Women Building Resilient Cities in the Context of Climate Change

  • Citation: Kellogg, Molly. “Women Building Resilient Cities in the Context of Climate Change.” Georgetown Institute of Women Peace and Security, 2020.
    • Topics:
    • Global Development
    • Keywords:
    • climate change
    • gender
    • Sierra Leone
    • Africa
    • Sub-Saharan Africa

United Nations Security Council Resolution 2242 recognized climate change as an important consideration for the peace and security of women and girls. Women – marginalized in economic, political, and social spheres in many contexts – have even fewer available resources to cope with climate-related disasters as they face unique and often disproportionate risks.
Yet despite the challenges posed by climate change and gender inequality, evidence shows that women are actively contributing to building resilient cities. In urban contexts, women are carving paths to inclusion across multiple levels of local governance and helping communities become safer and more prepared to cope with disasters.
Field work in Freetown, Sierra Leone, reveals that women engaged in local governance are leading the charge for resilience building. This report distinguishes two key modes of engagement: formal representation, and community-based organizations or civil society networks. Local government shapes how residents experience risk, through providing services such as water or waste management, or planning future land use. In informal settlements, where local government is less reliable, informal structures of organizing can help build resilience, as through designing community-based early warning systems or forming savings cooperatives that allow households to bounce back after a disaster. Interventions from NGOs can fill gaps in service delivery and help link community-based initiative to government planning.

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