Wildfires and Gender

The Northwest Territories evacuation order for Yellowknife and British Columbia’s declared provincewide state of emergency are the latest additions to Canada’s record-breaking reports on wildfire devastation. With over 13.4 million hectares of land burned, the severity of Canadian wildfires is undoubtedly a result of climate change. Rising greenhouse gas emissions and global temperatures have led to extreme heat and dry conditions, creating an extraordinary scale of wildfire disaster.  

What does this mean for women and gender-diverse people? How does climate change relate to gender-equity?

Women and gender-diverse people are disproportionately impacted by the effects of climate change, particularly those who experience overlapping marginalized identities, including race, class, disability, homelessness, location, and Indigeneity.  

Women and gender-diverse people are more likely to have lower incomes, greater caregiving responsibilities, mobility constraints, and fewer access to climate mitigation and adaptation knowledge. They are also more likely to experience violence following climate-related events and have less access to financial or life-sustaining resources. These factors collaborate to increase vulnerabilities to climate disasters and create significant barriers when accessing information on wildfire preparedness and resources for evacuation.   

Gender also impacts emergency climate responses and is often defined by perceived gender roles and division of labour. Canadian wildfire management and firefighting industry reflect this, with less than 10 percent of Parks Canada fire crew members being women. Cultures of violence and discrimination against women and gender-diverse people are normalized within the firefighting industry, seen through growing reports of sexual harassment, sexual and transphobic perceptions of leadership, and overwhelming mistreatment of women and gender-diverse people.  

Meanwhile, women and gender-diverse people outside of emergency frontline responses are involved in community rebuilding efforts and post-disaster caregiving – areas that are undervalued, underpaid, and without recognition.   

Despite the unequal and gendered impacts of climate disasters, Canada’s climate plans and policies do not reflect gender considerations, nor is there clear engagement and participation of women and gender-diverse people in climate-related decision-making. The absence of gender-perspective in climate policy leaves women and gender-diverse people trapped in cycles of perpetual inequality, as well as entire communities that could benefit from gender-responsive climate solutions. 

Women and gender-diverse people have a key role in building stronger and more resilient communities in the face of climate change. As wildfires and other climate-induced disasters continue to shape our everyday lives, it is critical to think about climate change as gendered.

If you are a woman or gender-diverse person fleeing wildfires and need support and/or resources in Calgary, please find them below:

1. Disaster and Emergency Resources

For immediate assistance in any emergency, please call 911 

Wildfire Information and Support 

  • Information, checklists, and tips for folks affected by wildfires 
  • Topics include information around insurance and renting, taking care of your mental health, and step-by-step guides on how to navigate a wildfire event in your province. 

NWT Evacuee Income Disruption Support Program 

  • One time payment of $750 to residents aged 17 years and older whose employment has been disrupted by an evacuation order lasting more than 7 days. 

Red Cross: Disaster Relief and Support Helpline 

Toll Free #: 1-888-800-6493 

  • Emergency accommodation, food, clothing and other necessities to those unable to meet their basic needs due to a disaster 

Salvation Army Helpline 

1-800-725-2769 

  • 24-hour assistance to survivors, first responders, and workers from other disaster response organizations whenever there is hardship, natural or man-made disasters, or an emergency situation 

Disaster Response Network 

1-888-424-0297 

  • Provides pro-bono psychological services with priority for folks who are: disaster victims, first responders, and/or those who have suffered trauma as a result of a disaster 

2. Mental Health Resources 

NWT Help Line 

 1-800-661-0844 

Kids Help Phone 

1-800-668-6868 or text “CONNECT” to 6868 

Wellness Together Canada 

1-867-585-0445 (adults) and 1-888-668-6810 (youth) 

Canada Suicide Prevention Service 

 1-833-456-4566 

First Nation and Inuit Hope for Wellness 

 1-855-242-3310 or chat online 

3. Community Resource Centres 

Women’s Centre of Calgary  

39 – 4th Street NW  

403-264-1155 | womenscentrecalgary.org  

Women in Need Society (WINS) 

Bridgeland: (403) 290-0210  

Erin Woods: (403) 235-4567  

Temple: (403) 590-5752  

Dover: (403) 255-5102 

  • Free Goods Referral Program helps clients with basic need items such as furniture, clothing, household items 
  • English as a Second Language program 
  • Parenting Programs  
  • Basic Need Referrals, Employment Supports,  
  • Linkage to Community Agencies and Resources 

4. Food Resources 

Alex Community Food Centre  

403-455-5792 | goodfood@thealex.ca  

thealexcfc.ca  

  • Drop-in community breakfast every Friday morning from 9:00 A.M. – 11:00 A.M. 
  • Drop-in community lunch every Wednesday from 12 P.M. – 1 P.M.  
  • Drop-in family dinner every Monday from 5 P.M. – 6:30 P.M.

Wing Kei Village 

 4120 Centre St NE 

403-850-7889 

  • The Well Café is open between 5:30 P.M. – 7:00 P.M. (with the exception of statutory holidays) on Mondays and Wednesdays to receive a free hot meal  
  • Dine-in only 

Good Neighbour Community Market 

149 5 Ave SE, Calgary, Alberta 

  • A free food market is offered every Sunday starting at 12 P.M.  
  • A community fridge/pay-what-you-want thrift store 

Calgary’s Cooking 

3751 21 St NE | 403-538-0135 

  • Monthly healthy budget friendly meals  
  • Planning meeting and cooking preparation take place separately  
  • Several meals prepared to take home and freeze   
  • Apply online or call 

Let's Stay In Touch

Subscribe to our free monthly e-newsletter!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top
Skip to content