Empowering women in disasters and risk reduction


Across the world, millions of farm animals are owned by women. These animals provide an important source of food, social status and income for household needs, education, clothing and medicine. On this International Women's Day, let's reflect on the work women do and how we can further empower them.

The more women become resilient to disasters and can protect their animals, the more empowered she is.

Sadly, when disasters such as floods, droughts and earthquakes strike, farm animals are significantly affected, impacting the livelihoods of women and their families in many countries. 

Animals help women become more resilient – they turn to their animals as part of their survival – her donkey carries water, her goats and cows give milk for her children, her chickens give her an asset she can trade with or build community goodwill.

Her animals are what she leans on in difficult times for support.

Certain animals tend to be the responsibility of women and animals that are ‘owned’ by women are often tied to the women’s social status. The more of these animals she has, the better off she is. Livestock ownership is therefore tied to women’s economic, social and cultural rights and in order to fulfil these rights, we need to look at empowering her to protect her livestock from disasters. 

For example, donkeys in pastoral communities are considered the helpers of women. They help her carry water and goods to market. Chickens also tend to be cared for by women and girls around the household.

World Animal Protection / Kishor Sharma 

Disasters can result in the death or suffering of animals, which will have a direct impact on women’s livelihoods. The more women become resilient with water pans and sustainable agricultural skills, for example, the more she is empowered to protect her animals.

Her social status increases. Her life around animals becomes easier and more profitable.

World Animal Protection is working with women to create silage, water pans, and better pasturing techniques. This can have tangible benefits for women pastoralists in particular.

Women farmers and women in agribusiness are more empowered by bringing them into organized collectives and groups, which we also facilitate. These women’s social economic status has directly improved as a result of our work with them. 

The more women become resilient to disasters and can protect their animals, the more empowered she is. 

World Animal Protection’s work is to help make women’s life taking of their livestock easier and more profitable as her social and economic status increases.