Routledge - Taylor & Francis Group Ltd

Living in hazardous waterscapes: Gendered vulnerabilities and experiences of floods and disasters

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Considerable literature exists on floods and weather-related disasters, but limited attention has been given to the varied social implications of hazards in the lives of people, especially from a gender perspective. This is particularly poignant in floodplains and coastal areas, where water is a key element in giving, sustaining and taking away life and livelihood. Critical social and geographical analyses enable better understanding of the ways hazardous waterscapes are perceived, experienced and negotiated by people across social categories in their everyday life. This article attempts to highlight the gendered and classed coping strategies and adaptation measures that men and women engage with (that both challenge and reproduce social relations and vulnerabilities) in their attempts to survive in hazardous environments. Drawing from an analysis of the gendered dynamics of floods and disasters as well as the interventions that were undertaken via the Flood Action Plan in Bangladesh, I demonstrate the differential and gendered implications of both water-related hazards and the structural interventions that were envisioned to address the hazards. With climate change likely to exacerbate floods and disasters, it is important to heed such differentiations and marginalizations, so as to draw insights to better inform current and future adaptation approaches, flood management and disaster management strategies.

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