Only by upholding the empowerment of women and girls can Small Island Developing States rise to the serious challenges they face


DED Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda with women of the equality village
Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda, UN Women Deputy Executive Director for Normative Support, UN System Coordination and Programme Results met with women at the Equality Village, the entrepreneurial marketplace within the framework of the Gender Equality Forum, organized by UN Women ahead of the SIDS4. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown


While women are more at risk of the impacts of climate change and disasters than men, they are also positive agents of innovative solutions for resilience futures in Small Island Developing States (SIDS), futures where both nature and people can thrive.

Across the world and the SIDS, women depend more on, yet have less access to resources. Women are employed in sectors with high vulnerability to disasters and climate change, concentrated in tourism-related services and sales sectors, making them more exposed to economic shocks during and after the crisis than men, whose employment is more diversified.  

Women and girls are also more at risk for gender-based violence –including sexual violence– in the aftermath of hazards and carry the greater care burden of unpaid care work. Unleashing the power of women as first responders to crisis, disaster risk reduction, and building economic and environmental resilience is crucial to achieving sustainable development.

DED Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda speaking aT the GEF
Ahead of SIDS4, UN Women organized the Gender Equality Forum to ensure that gender equality, women’s human rights, and the empowerment of women and girls were prioritised, by mainstreaming gender equality in respective national plans and policies. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown.


For this reason, the Gender Equality Forum was led by UN Women and the Caribbean Development Bank, and co-hosted by the Government of Antigua and Barbuda  from 25 to 26 May, ahead of the fourth International Conference on SIDS (SIDS4) drawing on women as positive agents of change for resilient futures and highlighting the need for resources and funding for gender equality and SDG5.


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