Monday, February 18, 2013

"The Gendered Nature of Natural Disasters"

     Natural disasters do not affect all people equally; certain groups of people are systematically disadvantaged due to cultural, economic, and social factors. Inequalities in access to resources and opportunities leave certain groups, such as women, more vulnerable to the damages caused by natural disasters. This is evident through the existing large scale gender differences in mortality rates following natural disasters.

141 countries were sampled from 1981 - 2002. 
Factors that increase natural disaster casualties:
1. low economic development
2. poor quality government 
3. high inequality

1. natural disasters kill more women, or at younger ages
2. the bigger the disaster, the stronger effect of the gender gap
3. the higher a woman's socioeconomic status, the weaker the effect of the gender gap

     Geographers have argued that there is little about these results that is natural. Geography, using GIS, is unique in its ability as a social science to link spatial patterns of risk to socioeconomic factors, and will be crucial in a continued study of vulnerability science.

Neumayer, Eric, and Thomas Plumper. "The Gendered Nature of Natural Disasters: The Impact of Catastrophic Events on the Gender Gap in Life Expectancy, 1981-2002." Annals of the Association of American Geographers 97.3 (2007): 551-56. Web.


  1. I would love to know why women are impacted more by natural disasters than men. While I'm sure socioeconomic status effects overall death rates, I fail to see how this could create a noticeable difference between men and women.

  2. This thought has never crossed my mind, a very interesting article! It would be interesting to look at different types of natural disasters and determine if the death rate of women changes upon the type of natural disaster.