The Gendered Nature of Disasters: Women Survivors in Post-Tsunami Tamil Nadu
AbstractThe impacts of disasters rarely reveal themselves equally across an affected population. Rather, the extent of impact is determined by social constructs, such as religion, caste, socioeconomic status and most notably, gender, which cuts across all of these spheres. This article focuses on the variable of gender and the role it played in post-tsunami Tamil Nadu, India. In particular, gender will be discussed in relation to: mortality; access to aid and rehabilitation resources; conditions at temporary shelters; violence against women; and impacts on health. This article argues that women confront human rights gaps during ‘normal’ times and that such pre-existing inequalities are simply reified and magnified in times of disaster. These contentions are upheld by providing a theoretical review of gender and disaster, a survey of actual accounts of gender and disaster across space, and by buttressing the literature with examples from post-tsunami Tamil Nadu. The aim of this article is to analyse salient gender-based issues in a specific post-disaster context and to add to the discourse on gender and disaster writ large.