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Structural Barriers to Disaster Resilience: Gender I . Session 11. Session Objectives. Understand how gender relations affect people’s everyday lives Explain how gender relations affect women and men in disaster contexts Relate gender to others social dynamics affecting disaster resilience

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Session objectives
Session Objectives

  • Understand how gender relations affect people’s everyday lives

  • Explain how gender relations affect women and men in disaster contexts

  • Relate gender to others social dynamics affecting disaster resilience

  • Understand the relevance of gender to a social vulnerability approach

Significance of gender
Significance of Gender

  • Gender identity has biological foundations in sex difference, but is also shaped by other factors

  • Gender patterns vary over the life course

  • Gender norms are interactive

  • Gender stratification structures people’s life opportunities and social status

  • Gender relations are not universally disempowering to women

  • Gender is not a synonym for “women”

  • Gender relations vary historically

  • Gender relations vary culturally

Gender differences in everyday life put women and men differently at risk
Gender Differences in Everyday Life Put Women and Men Differently at Risk

  • Average life span

  • Division of labor

  • Health status

  • Exposure to violence

Disparities which increase women s risk
Disparities Which Increase Women’s Risk Differently at Risk

  • Economic insecurity and higher levels of poverty

  • Extensive caregiving responsibilities

  • Domestic violence

  • Women’s traditional occupations

Gender differences which increase some men s vulnerability
Gender Differences Which Increase Some Men’s Vulnerability Differently at Risk

  • Occupational segregation

  • Internalized masculinity norms

  • Family and household roles

Gendered life experiences which help women and men cope with disaster

Extensive social networks Differently at Risk

Caregiving skills

Knowledge of local communities

Environmental resource users/managers

Experience mitigating hazards

High levels of risk awareness

Traditionally female occupational skills

Extensive work and professional contacts

Technical skills

Limited responsibility for children

Traditionally male occupational skills

Gendered Life Experiences Which Help Women and Men Cope with Disaster



Social trends which increase women s vulnerability
Social Trends Which Increase Women’s Vulnerability Differently at Risk

  • Increasing longevity

  • Increasing health problems as women live longer

  • Increasing rate of sole-occupancy

  • Increasing proportions of single-parent families

  • Increasing institutionalization

  • Increasing cut-backs in public assistance

  • Increasing dependence on paid caregivers

Highly vulnerable groups which are disproportionately female
Highly Vulnerable Groups Which are Disproportionately Female Differently at Risk

  • Battered women housed in shelters

  • Poor families

  • Lower-income disabled

  • Low-income elderly living alone

  • Single parents

  • People housed in insecure housing

Women in emergency management organizations are easily marginalized
Women in Emergency Management Organizations are Easily Marginalized

  • Women often work as gender tokens in male-dominated agencies

  • Women tend to express ideas more tentatively and work more cooperatively

  • Women are concentrated in lower-status professions

  • Women work in staff rather than line positions

  • Women have restricted task and job assignments

  • Women exercise power and influence informally rather than through official job status

  • Women are less able than men to realize ambitions

  • Women are perceived as less aggressive

  • Women often lack effective mentors

  • Women have fewer opportunities for training

  • Women do not enter the field from military backgrounds

Unique contributions of women to emergency management
Unique Contributions of Women to Emergency Management Marginalized

  • First-hand knowledge of gender differences and inequalities in everyday life

  • Knowledge of how race, class, gender, and age interact to increase vulnerability

  • Knowledge of personal and organizational strength of women and women’s groups

  • Professional background compatible with social vulnerability approach

  • Potentially greater access to local knowledge and resources of grassroots groups

  • Nontraditional sets of skills

Ways gender inequalities can be reinforced
Ways Gender Inequalities Can Be Reinforced Marginalized

  • Financial relief targeted to heads of households

  • Community consultations marginalize women

  • Women’s work in emergencies based on gender norms

  • Neglect of women’s need for income

  • Neglect of women’s needs in design of emergency/temporary shelters

  • Exclusion of women’s organizations in mitigation or post-disaster initiatives

  • Lack of attention to women living in shelters before disasters

  • Lack of gender-aware initiatives for men

Ways gender inequalities can be challenged
Ways Gender Inequalities Can Be Challenged Marginalized

  • Gender-targeted services where appropriate

  • Family-friendly public outreach/employment practices

  • Gender-aware analysis

  • Gender evaluation of all program planning and practices during all disaster phases

  • Avoiding unnecessary gender approaches

  • Gender-inclusive approach to all public meetings

  • Gender equity in emergency agencies

  • Researching disasters from women’s perspectives

  • Gender-sensitive indicators of vulnerability and capacity

  • Gender-disaggregated data whenever possible

Patterns of social vulnerability of women in the u s

34% of women aged 75 or older (vs. 24% of men) have a mobility or self-care limitation

Nearly half of elderly women (vs. 14% of men) are widows

75% of nursing home residents are women

Women dominate among those who need care and those who provide it

Over half of women aged 75 or older live alone

60% of all women over 16 years of age were in the labor force in 1999

51% of married couples with children in 1998 were both employed outside the home

75% of women work full time

Women own 35% of all firms, but most are in service and retail sectors; 42% reported before-tax-profits of under $10,000 in 1992

Half of all women-owned businesses in 1992 were home-based

Women earn 23% less in income than men

25% of households headed by women lived below the poverty line in 199 (vs. 11% headed by men with no spouse present)

Women and children are 2/3 of all legal immigrants to the U.S. today

Patterns of Social Vulnerability of Women in the U.S.