Monday, September 14, 2015

Natural Disaster and Gender

I found it interesting that this article discusses life expectancy in the introduction and how statistically speaking, women are more likely to live a longer life span than men are. However, it then goes into detail about how women are more likely to die in a natural disaster such as a drought, flood, earthquake etc than men are. This is especially more true in poorer countries where there are more divisions between gender and more gender inequality. An example, the text gives is how dress code makes it hard for women to survive certain natural disasters which can make it harder to react to certain events. Or perhaps, in many third world countries they are not taught how. An experiment was done with a hypothesis of how natural disasters reduce the life expectancy of women more and relative compared to men. There are a greater amount of disasters in larger countries, however, it was shown in the samples collected that the poorer countries experienced a greater amount of casualties. Also the smaller population in a country often meant a larger reduction in life expectancy. It is important to note that the amount of people that were killed in a natural disaster does not always measure the exact strength of how strong it was but the number of deaths are correlated to it. This is because in places where there is a low population, fewer people will die if there is a natural disaster there. It can be even misleading to only analyze the gender gap or ratio from female to male casualties to measure a disaster. It has been suggested however, that the gender gap is decreasing.

Neumayer, E., & Pl├╝mper, T. (2007). 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), 551-56


  1. Was any raw data presented? It would be interesting to see if this says something about population density within certain areas. Without this as a reference, this study appears incomplete, as we only have a single data point, and therefore cannot infer anything with a large degree of certainty. Is it because the areas impacted simply had a higher percentage of women? The population in places with high mortality tend to have more females than male. This might be another possible explanation for why this occurs, independent of economy rights.

  2. It is extremely interesting that women may be in more danger during natural disasters than men simply because of dress codes around the world. I would be highly intrigued to see if there has been a study done on women in first world countries like the US that dress more gender neutral, and if that has affected mortality rates and gender inequality.
    I think it goes deeper than that, however, as the more gender equal areas of the world have more opportunities for women, such as better healthcare, job availability, etc.