The Resilience Series

by María Julia Moreyra

Why Resilience?

Resilience is a scientific term initially applied to the capacity of materials to resume their original shape after being bent or stretched. The term has more recently been adapted for use in social contexts. It is often applied in how people are able to adapt in the face of challenge – their ability to recover from illness, depression, defeat, and other kinds of adversity [1]. In this regard, society is increasingly coming to terms with how conditions related to ethnicity, race, disability, age, or social status [2] affect resilience.

COVID-19, a global pandemic, has only further amplified the many conditions already challenging human resilience. Unfortunately, we know that adverse events, whether a pandemic, economic downturn, or natural disaster, disproportionately affect at-risk populations. For example, when society develops cold, at-risk populations develop pneumonia. Within these groups, women, and girls often suffer the most. Sadly, this has also been true in the pandemic. Yet, despite their disadvantaged status, women are providing essential leadership for their families and communities as they actively engage along the front lines of challenge – courageously and selflessly seeking to protect their people and serving as the backbones of community resilience. We believe the ability to dialogue about and share their experiences is instrumental to understanding the relationship between personal persistence and communitywide resilience in the face of devastating challenges such as the pandemic.

The purpose of The Resilience Series by Maria Julia Moreyra, is to contribute by sharing stories of real-life resilience in the face of serious threats to humanity. Through these real-life examples, we seek to elevate the stories of people, particularly women, who we found profoundly inspirational and who have genuinely made their communities stronger and more resilient.

As an organization committed to human rights and with a vision for empowering women, girls and adolescents in the face of daunting challenges, we believe resilience is an innate capacity that can be cultivated and supported. People and their communities need resilience to overcome obstacles and thrive. Accidents, natural disasters, illnesses, and economic cycles will occur despite our best efforts to prevent them. While we may be unable to avoid certain inevitable challenges, human resilience is critical to overcoming them.

It has been our great fortune to observe women rise above overwhelming challenges and, in doing so, lifting those around them out of despair. We will share compelling stories of heroic women in this series. Our hope is to spotlight the value and contributions of women and encourage an optimistic view of human resilience. The stories we will share arise from markedly disadvantaged circumstances in which the resilience of women leaders helped their communities rise above adversities. We hope you will enjoy this series as we explore the resilience of humanity, how people build it and how we can help each other to strengthen resilience throughout our lives.

By Maria Julia Moreyra  |  Rotary Peace Fellow  |  U4C Partner 

[1] Rose Gantner, “Women and Resilience” in Guide to Good Health (Summer 2012)

[2] Julie Drolet, Lena Dominelli. Margaret Alston, Robin Ersing, Golam Mathbor and Hauriu Wu, “Women Rebuilding Lives Post- Disaster: Innovative Community Practices for Building Resilience and Promoting Sustainable Development” Gender &Development 23, n 3 (2015): 433- 448, quote on p. 438

The Importance of Resilience in the Agenda Women, Peace
and Security, Particularly During the COVID-19 Pandemic by Maria Julia Moreyra (Pag. 87) – Connections, The Quarterly Journal, Security Implications of the Concept of Resilience.


Example of Resilience

Example of Resilience

An Example of Resilience Resilience seems best experienced in the reciprocal nature of serving and being nurtured by others. The resolve, capacity, and encouragement needed to overcome challenges and/or to thrive do not arise out of isolation. We are only adequate in...

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The First Resilience Journal 

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