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Gender and Emergency Management Guidelines

Gender issues are known to compound the damaging effects of disaster on survivors. Increasing understanding of the relationship between gender and disaster will improve the health and wellbeing of both women and men affected by disaster across Australia.

The Gender and Emergency Management (GEM) Guidelines were developed collaboratively as part of the 2016 All on Board project. The project aimed to reduce the compounding effects of gender on disaster impact through the development of national gender and emergency guidelines to fill a gap in Australian knowledge, policy and practice.

The benefits of the project are far-reaching and include:

  • A shared and improved understanding of the need for the guidelines, and the critical importance of policies and practice that incorporate a gender lens more broadly
  • A shared and improved understanding of the specific issues (social, structural, psychological, financial, interpersonal, and physical) relating to gender and disaster – and a capacity, informed by clear guidelines, to respond to these issues
  • Changed practices by key emergency management organisations and communities to help identify, prevent and respond to gender-based disaster impacts
  • New knowledge within the emergency sector of how to action the guidelines and gain support for subsequent changed policies and practices
  • Improved planning, response and recovery for both men and women in the midst and aftermath of disaster. 

The project aimed to achieve a truly national outcome, through consultation with representatives from each Australian state and territory. The collaborative approach ensured the guidelines were inclusive of contexts and experiences across Australia, and fostered a sense of shared ownership and responsibility. 

The guidelines are evidence-based and informed by both national and international research and experience. They align to other gender-related policy and program developments including the Sendai Framework.

All on Board

Funded through the National Emergency Management Project (NEMP), the All on Board initiative sought to address  the growing interest in the impact of gender on emergency management and the recognised need for gender to be incorporated into national guidelines.

In 2016, the project consulted with over 350 emergency management personnel across Australia. In addition to the GEM Guidelines, the project produced a companion checklist and a literature review. All on Board was externally peer-reviewed and evaluated.