Good day, my name is Karissa Moffett and I am presenting a topic on Gender in a Disaster.
Specifically, elucidating the affects of all genders in the 2015 earthquakes in Nepal.
Women and men, and other genders are affected differently by disasters. This oral presentation
will focus on conventional gender responsibilities and social relations; and how these factors
impede and/or facilitate gender in a disaster situation in Nepal. According to Ferris, Petz,
and Stark of a Brookings disaster management report notes, ”over half of the 200 million
people affected by disasters are women…
more than 75% displaced by natural disasters are women
and 70-80% who need assistance are women. . Because of the limited studies based on
transgender, and other genders aside from the familiar two, female and male I recognize
here and bring attention to you that the people affected, displaced, and needing assistance
greatly increases when lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, inter-sexual and questioning
(LBGTIQ) characteristics invariably adds greater risk and vulnerability in disaster situations.
In addition, this oral presentation not only focuses on women and girls, boys and men,
but all genders in disasters and provides a juxtaposition between LBGTIQ, female, and
April 25, 2015 a major 7.8 magnitude earthquake on the Richter Scale struck Nepal. Unfortunately,
the area was hit with a 7.3 magnitude earthquake 17 days later.
Haddow et al., recognizes gender bias as an issue in equality in relief distribution (p.366).
Gender bias in emergency management can be defined as roles set by society that tie women
and men to traditional responsibilities. For example after a disaster (and well before
a disaster too) women are pigeon held to societal norms to stay at home with the children and
elderly. On the other hand, men are clouted to paramount opportunities in which places
women, children, and elderly at the mercy of dependency(Haddow et al., p.366).
Women, children (majority are girls), and LBGTIQ are often overlooked in the relief
and recovery process and threatened by social and cultural norms which in turn affects health,
living situations, access to supplies and involvement pre-and-post-disasters. Vulnerability
increases for women who are pregnant or menstruating and those women who take care of households
are more likely to come in contact with polluted water sources, adverse living quarters, mental
health and gender-based violence. Minorities are affected even more in such that LBGTIQ
are underrepresented and such that health, safety, emotional well-being are too adversely
affected. Men are responsible for most of the pre-and-post disaster response process
and are exposed to hazardous conditions. In addition, men are equally exposed to STD’s
and AIDs as are LBGTIQ and women. More so men are more vulnerable to substance abuse
which in turn instigates physical and mental abuse among all other genders.
Chkrabarti and Walia, present toolkits for gender mainstreaming. These ideas can be implemented
to address differential needs of all gender-sensitve intiatives. Like women, transgender people
need to be included in preparation and relief planning.
Manjari Mehta (p.57), chapter five of Women, Gender, and Disasters, notes The Eurpoean
Commision’s Disaster Preparedness ECHO programme (DIPECHO) developed reliance programs to equip
all ages and female and male genders. However, any mention of other genders were excluded.
The Blue Diamond Society and the Red Cross collaborated post disaster to shape relief
efforts and encourage resilience for future scenarios. After the Nepal Disasters, temporary
shelters were made to third gender people to diminish vulnerabilities and provide security.
Since there are initiatives established for strengthening women’s preparation, response,
and recovery in disasters, I believe NGO’s and governments should extend a a hand to
LBGTIQ communities for better engender disaster management. Mainstreaming all genders in emergency
management will provide a perspective and purposefulness to the community as whole in
the time of a disaster. Turning not only to women for help but also the third gender will
decrease the amount of deaths and truly provide a testament to what is possible.