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Women Must Be Included In Disaster Planning, Recovery Efforts

Project Syndicate: Disasters Discriminate — Our Response Should Not
Bharati Sadasivam, regional gender adviser for Eastern Europe and Central Asia at the United Nations Development Programme

“…[L]ives are saved when women are included in disaster planning and recovery. Natural disasters disproportionately affect women and children, especially in countries where women’s socioeconomic status is low. … [S]ome international agreements are beginning to emphasize the gender-differentiated consequences of natural and human-caused calamities. … Still, much work remains to be done, with four areas demanding urgent attention. First, increasing the number of women on search-and-rescue teams is essential … Second, more women must participate in post-disaster counseling efforts … Third, disaster-related funding should be tailored for women’s unique circumstances. … Finally, communities and disaster management authorities everywhere should adopt gender-specific strategies in all stages of disaster planning and response … Although disasters affect entire communities, women often bear the brunt of the burden. Disasters will continue to discriminate, unless we transform our responses to address their different effects on women and men…” (10/2).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.