Gender and Disaster Management

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Abstract

The objectives of this qualitative research are to study (1) community-based disaster (flood) management processes and (2) gender roles in disaster management. The research was conducted in Prik Tai, a Buddhist community in Sadao District, Songkhla Province, Southern Thailand. Research methods employed in this investigation were participant and non-participant observations and semi-structured interviews. Results show that disaster management in the Prik Tai community can be divided into three periods: 1988 to 1999, 2000 to 2009, and 2010 up to the present. The roles of women in the community were related to reproductive work, particularly household chores and care of family members. The women employed their skills in caring for the well-being of family members in disaster management and community work. In terms of gender division of labor, women played all three roles (production, reproductive work, and community work). Male roles in production and community work were labor-intensive and involved a higher level of risk than those of women. The female community core team members played key roles in social reproduction, household chores, unpaid services, and community work, which significantly contributed to the well-being of community members and vulnerable groups. However, the value and contribution of female social reproduction is not yet recognized by the state and society. It is vital to promote the social recognition of female social reproduction at the household and community levels, as one of the initial points in the process of decreasing gender inequality.