Social & Cultural Impact of Disasters on Women and MenProf. Ishrat ShamimInstitute of Disaster Management and Vulnerability StudiesUniversity of DhakaLecture 5
Differences in social and cultural impactsUsually, the impact of disasters is measured in quantifiable ways-such as adding up the numbers of the dead injured, and estimating the physical damage to housing, land, livestock, agriculture, stores and infrastructure. But attention is not necessarily paid to how disasters impact on different categories of people: men women, children, aged people etc.Disasters affect women and men differently, because of the different roles they occupy :and different responsibilities given to then in life; and because of the differences in their
Cont….In situation of disaster, the gendered division of labour becomes critical as gender roles are often seen to be re-enforced and even intensified due to the additional work and change s in environment brought on by a disaster.In Bangladesh,traditional gender specific work such as carrying water, cooking, caring for children and animals become so difficult for women during flood conditions that their lives were at risk., often there was no alternative, Because there were no men around to help and even if there were, they did not assist with women’s work because of the powerful ideas of gendered division of labour.
Cont………..However, there are rare occasions when gender roles may change, and even interchange between men and women when responding to crisis situation.Sri Lanka: During the drought in the village of Andarawewa, Sri Lanka, households began to rely more and more on men to ferry water on pushbikes and tractors from the water browsers provided by the local government authority. Pakistan: During the drought in Tharaparkar, Pakisthan, when water sources were drying up, men began to share in the responsibility of collecting the larger quantities of water needed for animals.
Cont….Women's reproductive work related to household maintenance, despite its arduous load continues to be unacknowledged in societies. Disaster situations, the already heavy workload increases.In Bangladesh,although floods affect all men and women, the physical burden of coping falls heaviest on women, and particularly on women from the poorer categories. During the floods women's daily household activities were extended to include the extra responsibility of protecting their households, family members livestock and other belongings.