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Summer school

Gender, Disasters and Climate Risk

The Challenge

With risks posed by extreme weather events and climate change placed on top spots on the list of Global risks, response and adaptation is a challenge. The challenge arises due to the differential and unequal capacities to respond both pre-and post-disaster phase. One of the major components is the unequal capacities in terms of availability and access that have built over time dictated by unequal relations of power translated materially and discursively, and complex legacies of structural marginalization and injustice that place some at more risk than others.

During Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, most trapped victims constituted of women and children (Gault et al, 2005; Williams et al, 2006). After the 1998 Bangladesh floods, women suffered from urinary tract infections, due to lack of sanitation facilities and taboos attached to menstruation (Walia and Rathi, 2015). Incidences of increased violence post disasters are well reported; this includes violence against women exacerbated during and after disasters (WHO,2002). In Sri Lanka, post Tsunami pre-existing inequalities against women were exacerbated and manifested in violence (Fisher, 2010).

At the same time, gender issues in disasters risk are not limited to women alone. LGBTQ and other sexual minorities faced problems of access to relief and were left homeless post Nepal earthquake in 2015 (Nepal Red Cross Society).

The socially constructed role of men and expectations stemming from them may put them at risk (Fordham, 2012). At the same time, sexual minorities may lack access and their capabilities in helping recovery may go unrecognized due to the stigma and discrimination they face (Gaillard et al, 2017). Additionally, even women do not constitute a homogenous group, and vulnerabilities differ with context (Gaillard, 2010; Jonsson, 2011).

The important thing to note here is that the likelihood of suffering and slow recovery among women and sexual minorities may not necessarily stem from physical inabilities alone. Attentions needs to be paid on the creation and continuance of “at risk conditions”. This refers to social, economic, and political conditions built over time and their interactions that systematically and structurally create lack of access to land, health, aid, and secure livelihoods.

Thus, not only does gender inequalities increase and is part of creating disaster risks, but disasters themselves create gender inequalities and exacerbate existing ones. Despite facts and figures, application of gender focus within policy and practice remains inadequate (UN Women, 2017).

Critical research has shown the importance of understanding how dominant discourses frame climate change, energy, and disaster risk agendas as “scientific gender-neutral problems” (MacGregor, 2010). Such analysis holds value in exposing discourses based on unquestioned assumptions in climate, energy, and disaster politics that perpetuate the current unequal gender roles and relations.

The international Gender summer school organized by Division of Risk Management and Societal Safety, Lund university, intends to address gender and disaster issues. It provides a platform to create a strong pedagogical base that is action oriented towards capacity enhancement and gender secure environments.


  • Contribute to a gender inclusive approach in Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation research with a focus on energy and practice by offering pedagogical training to actors such as researchers and practitioners
  • Bring together researchers and practitioners to facilitate dialogue, and co-create knowledge and solutions, in developing gender inclusive designs in response, recovery, and preparedness.
  • Explore tools that could be used to create and maintain gender secure environments.
  • Enhance capacities so that participants become agents of creating gender secure environment at their workplaces.

This course aims to bring together PhD students and professionals in the field, to combine theoretical perspectives with insights from the professional field. We welcome applications from both groups, but only students are eligible for scholarships.

Selection will be done based on the motivational letter submitted when applying to the course.

  • Consent letter from your PhD supervisor (students only)
  • A short motivation letter stating interest in gender diversity issues related to disaster, climate risk and energy.

The summer school involves interactive sessions between the presenters and the speakers, including group exercises.

The course will be held between the 2nd to 6th of September, 2024 in Lund, Sweden. No on-line attendance will be offered.

The courses in this summer school are developed on these four different but interrelated themes.

  • Gender, unpacking the basic concepts
  • Climate risk and gender
  • Crisis, disaster, and gender
  • Gender, power, and politics

3 credits (Students only) will be given subject to the completion of the final group work.

Learning outcome - Knowledge and understanding

For a passing grade the participants must:

  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of key assumptions within the field of gender, assumptions and concepts in gender theory and development work.
  • Demonstrate in-depth knowledge of gender issues in planning and implementation of disaster risk reduction, energy, and climate adaptation projects.
  • Demonstrate in-depth knowledge of gender issues in planning and implementation of disaster risk reduction, energy, and climate adaptation projects.

Learning outcome - Competences and skills

For a passing grade the participants must:

  • Demonstrate ability to independently identify issues and formulate purposive action.
  • Demonstrate the ability to combine gender perspective with disaster reduction, energy, and climate change efforts.
  • Demonstrate the ability to present, key aspects of relevant perspectives in gender studies.

Learning outcome - Judgement and approach

For a passing grade the participants must

  • Demonstrate the ability to critically reflect on relevant scientific, social, and ethical aspects of gender aspects within their area of interest.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of how to create gender relevance in their work related to disasters and climate change.

Applications can be submitted between February 5th to April 30th, 2024. Applicants will be informed of the decision in the middle of May, 2024.

To apply, send your motivation letter and consent letter, if required, to:

There are limited number of scholarships to cover travel expenses and/or accommodation for few PhD students. This will be decided based on their motivation letter. For those selected, there will be no attendance fee. Meals are not included.

Division of Risk Management and Societal Safety

LTH, Lund UniversityFloor 3, John Ericssons väg 1223 63 Lund, Sweden

Swedish South Asian Studies Network Lund University

221 00 Lund, Sweden
Norlindska huset, Biskopsgatan 5

Website of the South Asian Studies Network


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