Asian Fisheries Society

Do Catastrophes Exacerbate Gender Bias? An Analysis of Coastal Women’s Experiences of Economic Marginalisation in a Disaster Context

Abstract:

Women are highly vulnerable because of poverty, gender division of labour and multiple burdens. These gender inequalities and biases are reinforced when disasters strike. Thus women tend to suffer more than men in disaster situations. For a disaster-prone country like the Philippines, the understanding of the differences in the impacts of catastrophes on men and women is crucial for effective disaster risk reduction and rehabilitation strategies. This research addresses this issue by examining how a destructive oil spill in Guimaras, Philippines affected the economic wellbeing of women by focusing on their experiences of economic marginalisation. Primary data were collected using key informant interviews, survey and focus group discussions.

Results show that the oil spill disrupted women’s fishing activities. The data also reveal that they were already experiencing economic marginalisation even before the disaster. This was exacerbated after the disaster because their needs were considered less important leading to unequal institutional interventions. The study affirms that disasters reinforce economic marginalisation of women. It also highlights that gender perspective is crucial in analysing disaster impacts. It is recommended that post-disaster relief and rehabilitation efforts be guided by gender needs assessments and gender sensitive targeting of beneficiaries.

Publication Date : 2014-12-15

Volume : 27

Issue : Special Gender in Aquaculture and Fisheries: Navigating Change

Page : 97-109

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Date 2014/12/15
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