How do we re-make our lives? Gender and Sustainability in the post-disaster context in Asia

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    Since the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, more attention has been paid to the asymmetrical impact such mega-disasters have on women, both in terms of the immediate mortalities and the longer-term livelihoods issues. Much of this attention has been focused on surviving women in the 15–60 year-old age groups, that is, those who are forming or reforming family structures disrupted bythe disaster event, and those seeking to reestablish livelihoods. Marriage and fertili-ty patterns post-disaster have dominated the discourse. Comparatively little attention has been given to the issues impacting on older women, those with disabilities, and those who suddenly become female-headed households who have to contend with a variety of sociocultural issues in the post-disaster reconstruction phase. Often, such women, especially in developing countries in Asia, have little experience of govern-mental systems, or knowledge of how to influence policies which impact on their post-disaster status. Social mores can be disadvantageous to surviving women who may need to seek finance or credit to establish a small business to support their liveli-hoods and surviving family members. Financial systems support is rarely geared to such women, particularly those who in the post-disaster context find themselves as heads of households. These difficulties are compounded when the women survivors are also afflicted with a disability either occurring pre-disaster, or as a result of the event. While the pioneering work of a few notable scholars such as Fothergill (1996),Fordham, (2001), and Enarson, (2004) has drawn attention to the ‘gendered terrain of disaster,’ that is, the vastly more severe impact of disasters (both ‘natural’ and complex) on women than on men in terms of mortalities, morbidities, loss of assets, financial difficulties in the recovery stage, ongoing health issues (sometimes into future generations), family reformation, domestic violence and risk of human trafficking, there has been little sustained analysis of how women survivors of disastersre-make their lives. This chapter aims to provide a snapshot of some salient socio-economic and cultural issues which impact on women survivors of mega-disasters in Asia from the perspective of sustainable livelihoods reconstruction.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe Consequences of Disasters: Demographic, Planning, and Policy Implications
    Editors Helen James and Douglas Paton
    Place of PublicationSpringfield, United States
    PublisherCharles C Thomas Publisher Ltd
    ISBN (Print)9780398090975
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


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