When the Disaster Strikes: Gendered (Im)mobility in Bangladesh

Citation:

Ayeb-Karlsson, Sonja. 2020. "When the Disaster Strikes: Gendered (Im)mobility in Bangladesh." Climate Risk Management 29.

Author: Sonja Ayeb-Karlsson

Abstract:

Gender influences people’s behaviour in various ways. This study investigates gendered (im) mobility during cyclone strikes in Bangladesh. During such strikes people have described being unable to move away from environmentally high-risk locations and situations. The Q-based Discourse Analysis used by this study shows how and why gender-roles (im)mobilised people in three coastal locations during the cyclones. People (and especially women) explained that failing to evacuate to the cyclone shelters when a disaster strikes was not uncommon. Gender, or feminine and masculine social roles, played a significant role in these evacuation decisions while facilitating or constraining their mobility. The gendered subjectivities presented different accepted social behaviours and spaces for women and men. In this way, immobility (social, psychological, and geographical) was strongly gendered. Masculine roles were expected to be brave and protective, while female ‘mobility’ could be risky. Women’s mobility therefore ended up being constrained to the home. In other words, when the disaster strikes, everyone did not have the same ability to move. These empirical insights are important to inform climate policy in a way that it better supports vulnerable populations worldwide as they confront global environmental changes today and in the future.

Keywords: disaster, (im)mobility, non-evacuation behaviour, trapped populations

Topics: Environment, Environmental Disasters, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gender Roles, Femininity/ies, Households Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Bangladesh

Year: 2020

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