Indonesia has suffered many highly publicized disasters. Earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions have grabbed international headlines as news of the unimaginable levels of destruction and fatalities trickles out. Less heralded are the many smaller events that regularly disrupt households and communities across the archipelago. This paper uses Indonesia as a testing ground for theory and data that illuminate how disasters impact and are impacted by gender relations and practices. Drawing on an established literature on the social construction of disaster and a growing body of gender and disaster research, we demonstrate how gender roles and relations as they are shaped by social, cultural, religious, and political structures affect the ways disaster is experienced by whom and the factors that contribute to resilience and recovery. We use three case studies – the Aceh earthquake and tsunami, the Yogyakarta earthquake, and a Mount Merapi eruption – to illustrate how social and political conditions that influence gender relations before disaster affect the impact of the disaster on women, as well as their resistance and recovery process. We suggest that social, political, and religious factors are important elements in shaping the impacts of disaster. As climate change brings increasing numbers of disastrous or even catastrophic events globally, the lessons from Indonesia underscore the importance of gender mainstreaming, women’s equality and empowerment for future efforts to address and adapt to these threats.