Last night I spoke to an incredible group of women about the work we do here at National Homeless Collective and the Period Project. One of the topics I touch on is the gender differences in disaster management.
Women always fare worse off in disasters
This is because disaster management tends to be a male dominated field however infant and home care tend to be female dominated roles. Women are more likely to die or be seriously injured or die in a disaster simply because they can’t run if they need to because they have the care of infants and children thus have more people to think about and less time to get themselves out of danger. Women are also more likely to be wearing more cumbersome clothing.
This of course is the general outcome and not every outcome.
The issue with disaster management being male dominated is that in a disaster response, infants and children are not always included in the equation. Not is menstruation.
We saw this first hand here when the 2020 bushfires trapped people on Mallacoota beach, and when covid came and many high density living towers were locked down. No one thought about sanitary items die period care for those trapped by the fires. No one thought about nappies and formula for the babies locked in the towers.
That’s where we stepped in. But it never should have been that way.
Those particular situations will always bother me because for me, they were the first things I thought of. They were the first things many women thought of. But they should have been right up there with the first things all of the men thought of too.
Nappies, formula, sanitary items etc etc. All of it should have been just as important as food.
Because of gender bias there was added stress and pressure placed on women because those items were not considered among the essential care needs.
I want to see a world where at every step of the way, these issues are considered, and where women are equally able to survive and be well as their male counterparts.