Friday, June 10, 2011

Women, Natural Disasters, and Economic Reconstruction

Fire, floods, and massive tornadoes - this spring is one of the first truly "different" seasons that screams climate change.

I found this old post and thought it worth re-posting on the day I'm having my septum moved, corrected, or whatever.

The Women's Edge Coalition released an article in 2005 (after Katrina) that highlighted how natural disasters disproportionately take a huge toll on women.  The next year the Coalition reported on the Tsunami.  For communities to rebuild and life to return to a equitable norm, women's needs must be prioritized at the highest level of importance.   This is now referenced at the Women Thrive Worldwide site and remains pertinent. 

photo credit:  Xanderalex,
Disasters impact women severely in specific ways which are often not recognized, especially during the reconstruction phase after the crises have faded from the news. For example, violence against women usually rises dramatically in the immediate aftermath of a disaster, as legal and social structures are shaken. In Nicaragua for example, 27 percent of female survivors of Hurricane Mitch in 1998 reported increased violence within the family, and even after the Loma Prieta earthquake in California in 1999, reported sexual assault rose by 300 percent.  (Womens Edge Coalition, 2005)
Just as is the case with any cultural imbalance, whether it be political, economic or religious in nature, women and children are disproportionately harmed by life out of balance. "Women and children first" was not a Victorian disaster catch phrase but a recognition of the disproportionate importance the mother child dyad to not only family stability but to societal stability.

Women's Thrive also has a pdf download about poverty trade and globalization that is one of the few intelligent articles I've found that touches on how the dominant economic process negatively impacts women and children.

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