From Women’s Needs to Women’s Rights in Disasters


Enarson, Elaine, and Maureen Fordham. 2001. “From Women’s Needs to Women’s Rights in Disasters.” Environmental Hazards 3: 133–36.

Authors: Elaine Enarson, Maureen Fordham


  • The authors discuss the factors that make women especially vulnerable under current “gender-blind” disaster recovery practices. They cite physical reasons (pregnancy, menstruation, etc.) as well as social and economic reasons why special attention should be paid to women in disaster areas. Enarson and Fordham argue that “gender-blind” practices reconstruct women’s subordination. Recovery periods, they argue, should be used to educate communities about women’s rights and human rights in general in order to produce a positive outcome from natural disasters. To do this, they maintain, women should be given a bigger voice both in international organizations as well as in the communities that have been struck by disaster. Women must learn to overcome cultural and other obstacles in order to share their valuable abilities.

Topics: Environment, Environmental Disasters, Gender, Women, Gender Mainstreaming, Humanitarian Assistance, International Organizations, Rights, Women's Rights

Year: 2001

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