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Gender Sensitive Disaster Management: A Toolkit for Practitioners

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C. Pincha
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Social networks, power relationships, knowledge and skills, gender roles, health, wealth, and location, all affect risk and vulnerability to disasters and the capacity to respond to them. It is generally agreed that when gender issues are not addressed sufficiently, in either development or disaster contexts, they perpetuate and in many instances exacerbate existing gender-based inequities. To build gender-sensitive strategies and initiatives in disaster management processes, it is necessary to address both the practical gender (needs identified by women to help in their existing subordinate position in society - e.g. skills training in dressmaking) and strategic gender needs of women (needs identified to transform existing subordinate relationships between men and women - such as legal rights) and men as well as transgender persons. This Toolkit focuses on the 'how-to' of incorporating a gender perspective in the overall planning and practices of disaster management, and comprises four chapters.The first chapter clarifies 'gender' concepts. The second spells out the consequences that arise when disaster and gender issues interact. It uses the Indian Ocean Tsunami that struck Tamil Nadu in December 2004 to illustrate some of the gendered consequences of disasters and disaster management. The third chapter includes tools which when applied would promote good practices in integrating gender concerns in disaster response and preparedness. And the last chapter highlights some good examples of non-governmental organisations' gender sensitive interventions.

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