Gender & Social Equity in Humanitarian Response As a Culture and Conscious Practice
Need for a Paradigm Shift Disasters are not merely extreme natural hazards-they are reflection of gender and class based vulnerabilities. Disaster Vulnerability reduction Should become a culture and conscious practices Response to a Natural Hazard must come from where it strikes so as to reduce the time gap between a natural hazard and the Response NGOs must implement development programs with Disaster risk perspective with a focus on special needs of different sections of communities. Civil society (indirect victims) must debate the issue of gender and class insensitivities in disaster response so as to ensure appropriate policies and practices. International Development Agencies must reach out to local social, secular and spiritual organizations for sensitizing families on special needs of specific groups in disaster response and preparedness.
DEVELOPING A CULTURE OF PREPAREDNESS Identifying and Integrating Gender and class differential vulnerabilities in Disaster Risk Reduction Strategies and in development policies and practices. Creating mass awareness on disaster risk and vulnerability and special needs of different sections. Ensuring Participation and accountability of key stakeholders- Communities, NGOs, Government, Media & Academics Disaster risk reduction as a life style than as a project Risk perception, risk assessment and risk mitigation plans and practices need be educated on gender and class differential vulnerabilities. Policy decisions need to take such risk perceptions should be recognized as an issue of governance and performance.
Key Issues In Tsunami Response in India, Indonesia & Srilanka Lack of Gender Dis-aggregated data collected after disaster and general failure to identify needs of different genders and classes. Pre Tsunami risk assessments and post Tsunami need assessments have insufficient analysis of gender and class differential vulnerabilities and needs. Adequate efforts were not made by response agencies to understand differential livelihood roles and strategies of men and women. Governments failure to upgrade enumeration systems despite repeated disasters-which focus on numbers and ignore qualitative issues such as specific ration and health needs of individuals. Shelter designs in most cases were gender blind-causing security and privacy issues for women.
Key Issues In Tsunami Response in India, Indonesia & Srilanka Post Tsunami assistance and land titles have been allocated to male heads of households. Lack of grievance mechanisms in Government and NGO managed relief camps. Excess relief in terms of Cash distribution – generally given to men-increased violence and injustice against women. No attempt made to understand the risk of trafficking women and children from Tsunami affected areas. Many women reported increase in domestic violence and prefer to treat them as intra-house issues. General lack of awareness on human rights and legal instruments and institutions that safe guard their rights.
Key Issues In Tsunami Response in India, Indonesia & Srilanka Oxfam study in India post Tsunami highlighted: Inequitable distribution of relief for women and marginalized. Total neglect of sexual minorities Delayed relief supply to lowers strata of society especially to labor class and tribals Marginalization of widows and single women living with the parental/husband. Specific needs of religious groups ignored: e.g. Weil for muslim women
Key Issues In Tsunami Response in India, Indonesia & Srilanka Blind compensation strategies increased the pressure on women to remarry, younger girls to marry aged men and single parents marrying off young girls to avoid difficult parenting. Psycho-social problems are prevalent affecting all segments of the population and have been largely un- or inadequately treated In the conflict situations of Banda Aceh and Sri Lanka military involvement in aid delivery generated abuses. Widowed women are socially excluded and looked down upon – less family support from husbands family)
Gender Mainstreaming in Thinking and practice Create effective mechanism to ensure gender mainstreaming in government planning and response to disasters-specify clear roles and responsibilities for gender integration and strengthen National Women s commission (in India) to play such role. National legal instruments should specify provisions and empower oppressed sections of the society to assert their rights in disaster assistance. Gender and class based vulnerability reduction should be factored in disaster response planning and practices. Adequate measures should be taken to help women protect the assistance given to them after disasters and help them use the assistance for long term gains.
Role of Media and Academics Review existing policies and practices, highlight grey areas and suggest improvements Highlight main causes of vulnerability Question if the government and civil society is adequately prepared to deal with a sudden disaster-be it cyclone, floods, earthquake or a terrorist attack? Disseminate Preparedness guidelines and Tips Convert studies and research outputs in to usable tools for practitioners.
LESSONS FROM CUBA Self Help, social cohesion, citizen based social protection with equal involvement of men & women. Trust between government authorities and civil society Political commitment to risk reduction of all sections of society. Concrete plans to save lives, evacuation plans, etc. Investment in human & economic development An effective risk communication system INVESTMENT IN SOCIAL CAPITAL Investment in institutional capital (transparent, accountable and capable institutions for disaster mitigation)
LESSONS FROM CUBA Developing a Culture of Safety: Awareness of procedures & measures known by all members of family in case of Hurricanes (key disaster threat) Knowledge of stages of emergency warning, where to get information, how to secure houses, where to go for shelter Cuban men and women from all walks of life people are active in several types of social organizations, women organizations, youth organizations, particularly local mitigation committees.
LESSONS FROM CUBA Development Model for Vulnerability Reduction Universal Access – men, women and all classes and communities-to Services: Health, Education, Physical Infrastructure Policies to reduce social and economic disparities: Considerable Investment in Human Development: 45 years of investment in human capital provided country with the well trained men and women. Investment in Infrastructure: Both in rural and urban areas reduced urban density and range of resources available in the rural areas that are used for disaster mitigation Social and Economic Organization: Promoting solidarity, cohesion, cooperation, and creates social capital that can be applied for risk reduction
Oxfam s TASK FORCE GROUPS In India Early Warning & Communication Group Shelter Management Group Evacuation & Rescue Group First Aid & Health Group Water & Sanitation Groups Damage Assessment Group Counseling Group Carcass disposal Relief distribution 10 Members in each group out of which minimum five are women.
THANK YOU N Hari Krishna Oxfam America firstname.lastname@example.org Hari_2068@yahoo.com +91 93810 27549