Disaster, Vulnerability, and Violence Against Women: Global Findings and a Research Agenda for Bangladesh

Disaster, Vulnerability, and Violence Against Women: Global Findings and a Research Agenda for Bangladesh

Khandakar Josia Nishat (University of Queensland, Australia) and Md. Shafiqur Rahman (Helen Keller International, Bangladesh)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3018-3.ch014
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Studies of natural disasters have adequately focused on gendered aspect of disaster and women's vulnerability and offered suitable suggestions though only few of these have focused on the issue of the relation between disaster and violence against women. By undertaking meta-analysis of cross-cultural studies, this paper aims to provide an overview of connections between disaster, women's vulnerability and violence against women and to highlight the importance and the relevance of similar researches in Bangladesh. Natural threats are real and moderated by existing socio-economic arrangements and cultural norms in Bangladesh where gender relationships are unequal and violence prone. Therefore it is expected that the lessons of international experiences and insights will help to develop a gendered research framework to understand ‘how violence against women is increasing following disasters' in the context of Bangladesh. And finally, that would pave the way for policy options to form a better co-existence for both men and women which would be more equal, dignified and violence free.
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Operational Definitions

Disaster: Disaster is a difficult concept to define; existing definitions tend to be either too broad or too narrow. However this paper will mainly focus on natural disasters. Natural disasters refer to disasters of certain magnitude caused by natural forces affecting whole populations. For example: cyclone, tornado, flood, riverbank erosion, coastal erosion, landslide, drought, heavy rainfall, bushfire, heatwave etc.

Vulnerability: Vulnerability to natural disasters is a composite of numerous social and biophysical variables, and it is established long before disasters strike in infrastructure, preparedness planning, economic status, education level, social networks, and other available systems, with each capable of being shaped by gender (Fordham, 1999, pp.15-36).

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