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Gender and Natural Disasters: Why We Should be Focusing on a Gender Perspective of the Tsunami Disaster

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R. Jones
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Jones argues that, in the aftermath of such catastrophes as the tsunami, disaster management plans and humanitarian assistance must be linked with gender dynamics in order to "precipitate a greater understanding of what is needed to ensure that women's unique circumstances during natural disasters are not only recognized, but acted upon." That is, while the physical aspects of natural disasters are fixed, "the social and economic aspects are not. They can be reshaped, used and sometimes abused." In the best cases, she suggests, natural disasters can even become a platform for social change: Using such communication tools as the media and such strategies as community mobilisation, women can voice their vulnerabilities, reduce their invisibility, and restructure misguided gendered conceptions that limit them - during disasters and beyond.