Gender and Disaster: Foundations and Directions


Enarson, Elaine, Alice Fothergill, and Lori Peek. 2007. “Gender and Disaster: Foundations and Directions.” In Handbook of Disaster Research, edited by Havidan Rodriguez, Enrico Quarantelli, and Russell Dynes. New York: Springer-Verlag.

Authors: Elaine Enarson, Alice Fothergill, Lori Peek


“Gendered disaster social science rests on the social fact of gender as a primary organizing principle of societies and the conviction that gender must be addressed if we are to claim that knowledge about all people living in risky environments. Theoretically, researchers in the area are moving toward a more nuanced, international, and comparative approach that examines gender relations in the context of other categories of social difference and power such as race, ethnicity, nationality, and social class. At a practical level, researchers seek to bring to the art and science of disaster risk reduction a richer appreciation of inequalities and differences based on sex and gender. As the world learns from each fresh tragedy, gender relations are part of the human experience of disasters and may under some conditions lead to the denial of the fundamental human rights of women and girls in crisis. 
“We begin by briefly discussing the dominant theoretical frameworks that have guided gender disaster research to date and seem likely to develop further. We then organize and review the extant literature around seven interrelated themes. The literature review is designed to highlight published research conducted on human behavior and social consequences in primarily natural disasters and thus does not include, for example, armed conflict and displacement, HIV/AIDS, and other related literatures. The third section of the chapter examines international perspectives in the gender and disaster field. Finally we point out knowledge gaps and some new directions we hope will guide the endeavors of those who produce and use knowledge about disasters” (Enarson, Fothergill and Peek 2007, 130).

Topics: Class, Environment, Environmental Disasters, Ethnicity, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Rights, Human Rights, Women's Rights

Year: 2007

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