Are early warning systems gender biased?


Posted by on October 22, 2007  /  1 Comments

The article below (issued to mark International Day for Natural Disaster Reduction, 11 days late) says that the manner in which warning are communicated “typically disadvantage women.” The “evidence” or illustration used to support this broad claim is strained, to say the least. Our experience with the HazInfo project in Sri Lanka was quite the opposite. It will be interesting to see what others think.

OneWorld South Asia Home / News:Opinion & Comment – Disaster lessons from the past

Early warning systems are critical to reducing the impact of floods, droughts, hurricanes, tsunamis and other disasters. However, the ways in which warnings are relayed typically disadvantage women and their ability to respond to the disasters.

For example, in one fishing village in Peru prior to an extreme El Nino Southern Oscillation, fishermen had been forewarned and therefore knew that for some months they would not be able to catch sufficient fish. However the women of the village, who manage household budgets, did not receive any warnings and were caught unawares.

For socio-cultural reasons men did not tend to discuss such issues with their wives, nor did they alter their spending to plan for the coming disaster. Had women been warned they are likely to have budgeted differently, saved money and been better prepared economically.

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1 Comment


  1. Are early warning systems gender biased?
    thats a good hypothesis… time to conduct a scientific research?