FRIDAY FILE: The impact of natural disasters is gendered and therefore responses to these disasters must be gender responsive. Six months after the earthquake in Haiti MADRE’s Yifat Susskind spoke with AWID about the gendered impact of the earthquake, and described what a gender responsive approach to addressing the crisis would look like.
AWID: What are the gendered dimensions of the impact of the Haiti earthquake, and why is it so important that these be considered in any humanitarian or policy response?
YIFAT SUSSKIND: Women are often hardest hit when disaster strikes because they were at a deficit even before the catastrophe. In Haiti, as indeed in every country, women are the poorest and often have no safety net, leaving them most exposed to violence, homelessness and hunger in the wake of disasters. They are also overwhelmingly responsible for other vulnerable people, including infants, children, the elderly, and people who are ill or disabled.
Moreover, women face an increased risk of sexual abuse and violence. In humanitarian disasters, they lose essential access to reproductive healthcare services. In addition, they may be denied property rights to rebuild homes, and they may be passed over in aid distributions that target male heads-of-household. Read the rest of this entry »