Gender Be A Factor In How People Respond During A Natural Disaster

A new study by the University of Colorado Boulder found distinct differences in how men and women react to a natural disaster. Of course, gender is not the only factor, but the fact that it can have a significant effect on reactions during a natural disaster, and after is certainly something to consider.

According to the study, women are quicker to take cover or prepare for an evacuation, while men are far more difficult to convince to take action early. In short, women tend to have a better risk perception, while men are not as quick to make the right decision when it comes to sheltering or evacuating in the wake of a natural disaster.

The study also found that men and women actually react differently in the aftermath of natural disasters. Specifically, traditional gender roles tend to come to the surface in the wake of a disaster event. According to the study men focus on finances and community building, while women tend to focus more on remaking the home.

The study’s lead author Melissa Villarreal, a PhD student in the Department of Sociology and research assistant at the Natural Hazards Center, spoke with the Insurance Journal about her findings.

“We found that there are many barriers that disadvantage women in the event of a disaster, leaving them behind when it comes to decision-making and potentially slowing down their recovery,” said Villarreal.

“Women seemed to have a different risk perception and desire for protective action than the men in their lives, but men often determined when and what type of action families took,” Villareal continued. “In some cases, this put women and their families in greater danger.”

While there is still more research to be done, this study presented some interesting data that government agencies should consider when developing responses to natural disasters. Now, exactly what that looks like we don’t know, but when it comes to crafting warnings and evacuation orders considering gender could be helpful.

Sources:
https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2019/09/25/541108.htm

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