Originally published in Masika, R. (ed.), Gender, Development and Climate Change, Oxfam, 2002
Bangladesh has recently experienced a number of high-profile disasters, including devastating cyclones and annual floods. Poverty is both a cause of vulnerability, and a consequence of hazard impacts. Evidence that the impacts of disasters are worse for women is inconclusive or variable. However, since being female is strongly linked to being poor, unless poverty is reduced, the increase in disasters and extreme climate events linked with climate change is likely to affect women more than men. In addition, there are some specific gender attributes which increase women’s vulnerability in some respects. These gendered vulnerabilities may, however, be reduced by social changes.