Making women visible in disasters: problematising the private domain

Citation:

Fordham, Maureen H. 1998. “Making Women Visible in Disasters: Problematising the Private Domain.” Disasters 22 (2): 126–43.

Author: Maureen H. Fordham

Abstract:

Gender awareness and sensitivity in disaster research and management remains uncommon and tends to focus on the developing rather than the developed world. This paper uses a feminist oral geography to present some findings about women’s experiences in two floods in Scotland. It is conceptualised around public and private (masculinised and feminised) space, problematising the private domain and presenting it, in the feminist research tradition, as a legitimate object of research. It shows the ordinary and everyday to be more opaque and complex than usually imagined and makes recommendations for their recognition and incorporation into disaster management. While there is a specific focus on the private domain of the home, this is not intended to reinforce gender stereotypes but simply to recognise the reality of many of the women interviewed. It concludes that disaster research generally has yet to advance much beyond the earliest stages of feminist studies which merely sought to make women visible in society.

Keywords: gender awareness, vulnerability, floods, Scotland

Topics: Environment, Environmental Disasters, Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Gender Analysis Regions: Europe, Western Europe Countries: United Kingdom

Year: 1998

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