Out of the RubbleMay 14, 2008
As catastrophes like the world food crisis, the deadly Myanmar cyclone, and the earthquake in China continue to grab headlines, I am grateful to see international attention being paid to these issues. Better to have all that newspaper ink devoted to these tragedies than to the latest gossip surrounding Mariah Carey’s marriage status.
As these global crises unfold, I wonder how much coverage will be dedicated to documenting the disproportionate toll they will ultimately take on women. Research shows that women are more vulnerable during disasters because of factors related to gender discrimination. And this is not simply a phenomenon of the developing world; a report by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research found that Hurricane Katrina had a similarly devastating effect on women’s lives.
But while women suffer the most, they also hold the keys to solutions. For example, greater investment in Africa’s agriculture could have an enormous effect on the food crisis and improve women’s lives at the same time, as women make up 80% of Africa’s farmers.
CARE, an AAUW partner, is a leading humanitarian organization that fights global poverty by empowering women. To find out about CARE’s response to these disasters and its efforts to build long-term solutions, visit www.care.org.