Women and Vulnerability during Disasters: From Policy Perspective

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 11:15
Location: Hörsaal 4A KS (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Panchi PATHAK, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India
In the recent years, the world has viewed in horror the kind of destruction and havoc that have taken place across the countries caused by natural disasters. Although these events might have taken place under various circumstances, there is a common factor which binds them under a similar platform, which is, that majority of the victims are women, children, elderly minorities and the disabled. In disaster related literature it is clearly expressed how the social structures and roles produce extensive human suffering and differential impacts. Social vulnerability reflects to how social, economic and political factors influence the extent to which the different communities in the society experience the impact of a disaster. The existing social order discriminates among different social groups in the normal circumstances of life. So during disaster the power system of the social order operates in such a way that disadvantaged groups becomes vulnerable. Women in normal circumstances in life face difficulties to access resources where the social norms determine their mobility and access to resources. Presently none of the policies have looked seriously into the gendered aspects to design policies that would protect women from the vulnerabilities caused by disaster. This paper is an attempt to understand vulnerability during disaster from gendered perspective and how the different programmes and policies over the years have failed to address the same. Whatever feeble effort that policies have made has not resulted in preventing women from suffering. Hence this study will be an effort to understand these gaps in policy discourses and contribute in future advocacy of equitable policy making and planning with respect in disaster management.