Monday, February 9, 2015
Gendered Nature of Natural Disasters
In Neumeyer and Plumper's "The Gendered Nature of Natural Disasters," the mortality rate of women is examined via death statistics of natural disasters. The sample their study used included 141 countries over the time period of 1981-2002. The data they used was collected via EM-DAT, a global data set of natural disasters that is available to the public. According to their findings, natural disasters kill more women than men and the women that die in these disasters are younger than the men killed. Socioeconomic status and the strength of the disaster are also deciding factors in this. Mortality rate has more to do social norms/gender roles and behaviors rather than biological differences. Here is an example: a man with two children who has been swept away by a tidal surge and can only hold onto one child. What child does he let go of? The daughter, because the son is the only one that can carry on the family line. Female children don't just get the short end of this stick here, either: they are not favored in famine conditions (i.e. a female child will not receive food or not receive as much food as her brother, father, or other male relatives). The destruction of a natural disaster is not limited to the actual event; women and girls face sexual abuse or rape in refugee camps that they may stay in after such a disaster. In these same camps, they also lack access to proper health and hygiene conditions.
Eric Neumeyer and Thomas Plumper: "The Gendered Nature of Natural Disasters: The Impact of Catastrophic Events on the Gender Gap in Life Expectancy, 1981-2002"