International Journal of Research and Innovation in Social Science (IJRISS) Volume III, Issue VIII, August 2019 ISSN 2454-6186A Review of Importance of Gender Mainstreaming inDisaster Risk ReductionW.M.G.N. PanampitiyaDepartment of Sociology, University of Kelaniya, Sri LankaAbstract: - Main intention of this article is to analyse theimportance of gender mainstreaming in Disaster Risk Reduction(DRR) in in order to reduce the gap gaps and to enhance genderequality in the fields of adaptation methods, resilience actionsand reduction of disaster risk. This study has used literaturereview method and relevant literature have been analysed basedon descriptive analysis according to the purposes of the study.The purposive sampling method was used to select relevantliterature. This study has been analysed under some major partsnamely definitions of Disaster and its classification, Disaster riskand Disaster Risk Reduction, Mainstreaming gender for DisasterRisk Reduction. This study shows the significance ofmainstreaming gender in Disaster Risk Reduction from the levelof policymaking to community implementations.Key words: Gender, Gender Equality, Gender Mainstreaming,Disaster, Disaster Risk Reduction.I.INTRODUCTIONGender can be simply defined as social interpretationsregarding responsibilities and roles of male and female.Hence gender is a set of social construction refers to the dutiesand responsibilities based on their sex. Gender refers to the setof learned expectations, behaviours, and attitudes about beinga man or woman from biologically determined traits –collectively termed our sex” (Rolleri, 2013). Gender is shapedby social relations, culture and social norms and values. Itnormally has profound effects of access and management ofnatural resources, decision making, behaviour and authorityregarding households and community. On the other hand,nature has a universal power to decide the existence of the allliving beings and it has performing precious roles related tothe survival of human as well from the history of humancivilization (Panampitiya, 2018). As a result of unsustainableagricultural practises, social and economic behaviours withfocusing the maximum use of technology in order toaccumulate and utilize natural resource into the developmentprocess and economic growth, fertility of nature is depletingrapidly. As a result of this process, disasters have become acommon phenomenon and occurring frequency and intensityof natural disasters have increased in modern society. Disasterpose a serious threat to the normal life, livelihood of people,process of development, lose of human lives, property andassets and environmental losses. Impact of disasters aremultidimensional, and it can affect all aspects includingsocial, economic and environmental.DRR is a prominent approach to identify, assets and reducerisk of disasters and ultimate goal of DRR is to reduce impactwww.rsisinternational.orgof socio-economic vulnerabilities of disasters and hazardswhich can cause a disaster. As women, girls, men and boys,they often have different capacities, levels of exposure todisasters, different needs during and after disasters. when weconsider comparatively between men and women, disastersituations can reinforce gender inequalities and vulnerabilitiesfor women than men in a patriarchal society. Hence,mainstreaming gender into DRR is significant to mitigatesocioeconomic vulnerabilities of disasters and ensure genderequality. It offers opportunities to enhance gender equality insocioeconomic development while increasing empowermentregarding adaptation and mitigation actions and ensuringresilience to disasters. Gender mainstreaming is vital toidentify precautionary actions to mitigate disasters and toreduce risk of disasters and promoting gender equality, socialequality and environmental conservation in the process ofsustainable development. In this context, it is important toinvestigate aspects and importance of mainstreaming genderin DRR in order to achieve sustainable development whileensuring and gender equality and rights of women and men toaccess to socioeconomic development in modern dynamicworld.II.OBJECTIVESMain objective of this article is to analyze the significance ofutilizing gender perspectives in the fields of DRR insociological perspective. Specific objectives have carefullyformulated in order to achieve the main objective. They are toidentify about the concept of disaster, Disaster Risk Reductionand Gender Mainstream, to study of reasons to be importantmainstreaming gender in DRR in order to reduce risk ofdisasters and to promote gender equality and equity, toidentify strategies to enhance gender equality to DRR incommunity, national levels and to study importance aspects ofgender mainstreaming for DRR to ensure sustainabledevelopment while strengthen resilience against disasters inparticularly for women.III.METHODOLOGYThis study is based on data from secondary sources; the datawere collected using the qualitative research method. Thequalitative research method was used to gain a betterunderstanding of and provide reliable and descriptive analysisrelated to the research objectives. The literature reviewmethod was used for collecting data form relevant journalarticles, research reports, textbooks and other academicPage 58
International Journal of Research and Innovation in Social Science (IJRISS) Volume III, Issue VIII, August 2019 ISSN 2454-6186works. The data that were collected represent the fields ofDisaster, DRR and Gender. The relevant literatures were usedaccording to the purposes of the study. The data werecritically analyzed according to the selected main themesnamely Disaster and its classification, Disaster risk andDisaster Risk Reduction, Mainstreaming gender for DisasterRisk Reduction.IV.DISASTER AND ITS CLASSIFICATIONDisaster is a phenomenon which can identify from the historyof human civilization and it can be simply defined as an eventcan cause to serious damage and negative effects on humanlife, livelihood, social and political institutions and ecologicalsystems etc. Oxford dictionary has mentioned that disaster is“a sudden accident or a natural catastrophe that causes naries.com/definition/english/disaster). Event or series of events which harm to human life, assets,infrastructure, social-economic and political structures ofsociety can identify as disasters. According to World HealthOrganization (WHO), “a sudden ecological phenomenon ofsufficient magnitude to require external assistance” (Sena andWoldemichael, 2006:6). Hence, it is a sudden event causedamage to social, economic, political and environmental orderand organization. Because it exceeds the capacity of affectedcommunity to be resilience, external physical and financialassistance are required after occurring a disaster. Thesedefinitions have more intended to define natural disasters.Although, there are close relationships between concepts ofdisaster and hazard there are some differences about twoconcepts. Hazard are defined as “phenomena that pose athreat to people, structure, environmental resources andeconomic assets and which may cause a disaster” (Singh,2006: 6). Hence, hazard is a component which can cause tooccur a disaster. Hazard is a dangerous phenomenon,substance, human activity or condition that may cause loss oflife, injury or other health impacts, property damage, loss oflivelihoods and services, social and economic disruption, orenvironmental damage (European Union, 2013). Broadly,disaster can be interpreted as “a serious disruption of thefunctioning of society, causing widespread human, materialand environmental loses which exceeds the ability of theaffected society to cope using its own resources” (Singh,2006: 6). Thus, it causes severe or minor damage to humanlife, social and economic infrastructures, essential socialservices and environment. It is beyond the abilities, capacitiesand strength of affected community to manage it. Disaster is“an event, natural or man-made, sudden or progressive, whichimpacts with such severity that the affected community has torespond by taking exceptional measures” (Carter, 1991: 14).Hence, disaster is a widespread event related to disruption ofsocial and economic behaviours of people, well-functioning ofsocial structure and organization as well as to damage toinfrastructure, political systems and ecological systems.Those damages and disruption become severe when disastersare sudden and unexpected. According to Australianwww.rsisinternational.orgEmergency Management Glossary, disaster is a seriousdisruption to human society including cause to death or injuryin that community or harm to property. It is beyond thenormal capacity of prescribed authorities and therefore, itrequires mobilization and organization of resources in order toreduce impact and to rebuild the community (AustralianEmergency Management Glossary, 1998).Disaster can be categorized mainly into two types. They are,natural disasters and man-made disasters. A natural Disastercan identify as a natural event or act of nature which have amagnitude to create catastrophic situation to human life,livelihood, because of it exceeds the capacity of communityresources and assistance, victimized people need externalassistance and resources such as food, shelter, clothing,medical and nursing and other essential facilities (Assar,1971). Hence, it is an occurrence of an extreme hazardousevent which have impacts on communities and because ofthat, affected communities are unable to function normallywithout external resources and assistance. Natural disasterimpacts on communities causing damage, disruption andcasualties, and leaving the affected communities unable tofunction normally without outside assistance (Twigg, 2007). Itcan cause widespread physical damages, loss of human lives,disruption of social, political and social systems. The rootcauses of most of natural disasters that occur on earth relatedto imbalance in the environment. Thus, natural disasters arenaturally occurring events and it can directly or indirectlycause serious damage and treats to human life, health andquality and well-being of social, economic and politicalinstitutions. Movements of the Earth (Tectonic Movements),soil erosion, imbalanced created in our environment such asair pollution, water pollution and noise pollution, extrememeteorological conditions, high winds are produced by waterthat has evaporated from an ocean surface in a low-pressurearea, low level of rainfall, heavy rains and imbalance ofhumidity and other related causes can directly affect tooccurrence of different kinds of natural disasters such asEarthquakes, Volcanic Eruption, Tsunamis, Hurricane,Droughts and Floods.Man-made disasters are the consequences of human activitiessuch as war, violence, crimes, accidents and ethnic crises etc.These kinds of disasters are results from a range of humanactivities, policies and state actions. Man-made disastersresult from some human activities such as chemical hazards,radioactive materials, explosions, fires, crashes, collapse etc(Sena and Woldemichael, 2006).Human made disasters canoccur based on causes such as Poverty, unregulatedpopulation growth, rapid urbanization, unregulated migration,conflicts of views and policies. Man -made disasters provokesevere disruption to national and international economy,education, food and nutrition, health care and livelihood andemployment of people.Page 59
International Journal of Research and Innovation in Social Science (IJRISS) Volume III, Issue VIII, August 2019 ISSN 2454-6186V.DISASTER RISK AND DISASTER RISKREDUCTIONGenerally, risk can identify as the combination of theprobability of an event and its negative consequences (UnitedNations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, 2009).Risk is an objective hazard that exists and can be measuredindependently of social and cultural process. Hence, risk hasalways connected with uncertainty and it is an integral part oflife. As well as, it usually associated with lack of capacitywith a particular situation (United States Agency forInternational Development, 2011). When consider about theconcept of risk, it can be identified that risk and vulnerabilityhave close relationship each other. Vulnerability can beidentified as “the extreme to which a community structure,service or geographic area is likely to be damaged ordisrupted by the impact of particular hazard, on account oftheir nature, construction and proximity to hazardous terrainor disaster-prone area” (Singh, 2006:8).It implies thecharacteristics and circumstances of a community orinstitutions or asset that make it susceptible to the damagingeffects of a hazard (United Nations International Strategy forDisaster Reduction, 2009). It can be categorized basically intotwo types. They are physical vulnerability and socioeconomic vulnerability. Physical vulnerability is likely to bedamage or disrupt to physical conditions of people nerability is likely to be damage to individual,communities and institutions such as instability of livelihoodof people, disruption of community activities andorganizations. It reduces the ability to withstand adverseeffects to hazard due to negative characteristics related tosocial interactions, cultural values and economic status.Disaster Risk refers to “the potential disaster losses, in lives,health status, livelihoods, assets and services which couldoccur to the particular community or a society over somespecific future time period” (United Nations InternationalStrategy for Disaster Reduction, 2009). Hence, it is theproduct of the possible harm or damage to individuals orcommunity caused by a hazard due to the vulnerability relatedto the environmental, socio-economic, cultural or politicalfactors within the society. Disaster risk reflects the idea thatdisaster is a product of continuously prevailing conditions ofrisk. Disaster risk can be measured, assessed and mappedthrough knowledge of present hazards and patterns of socioeconomic factors. There are three important aspects todetermine disaster risk. They are, hazard, vulnerability to thehazard and some form of coping capacity (United StatesAgency for International Development, 2011). Hazard is aphenomenon, condition or human activity which can cause todamage to lives of people, livelihood, health condition,property and services or environmental degradation or losses.Coping capacity has related to the ability of individuals,structures or institutions to utilize available physical, humanand financial resources to manage adverse conditions crisis ordisasters.www.rsisinternational.orgAccording to the United Nations International Strategy forDisaster Reduction, “DRR is the concept and practice ofreducing disaster risks through systemic efforts to analyse andreduce the causal factors of disasters. Reducing exposure tohazards, lessening vulnerability of people and property, wisemanagement of land and the environment, and improvingpreparedness and early warning for adverse events are allexamples of disaster risk reduction” (European Commission,2013). Hence, DRR aims to minimize impact of disasterthrough reduction of underlying factors related to emergedisaster conditions. It is a comprehensive approach to reducephysical, socio-economic and environmental impacts ofcommunities and societies. It provides better understandingabout potentials and capacities to mitigate disaster risk. Earlywarning systems enable individuals and communities toprepare and to take appropriate actions to minimizepossibilities of damage and losses. It has related with somekey elements such as knowledge of the risk, estimating,monitoring, analysis and predicting of the hazards. It refers tothe communicating and disseminating of alerts and warningsand capabilities of responding mechanisms. It underlines thesignificance of steps from hazards detection to communitycollective actions. Preparedness is “the knowledge andcapacities developed by governments, professional responseand recovery organizations, communities and individuals toeffectively anticipate, respond to, and recover from, theimpacts of likely, imminent or current hazard events orconditions” (European Commission, 2013). It has based onprofessional analysis of disaster risk and dissemination ofearly warning and coordination of collective actions throughenhance public awareness with trainings and field works. Itoffers improved capacities and potentials to carry out efficientmanagement actions in emergencies and disaster overnment/Private or Non-Governmental organizationalcapacities and operational abilities. Detection of vulnerabilities, effective early warning systems, preparednessand collective actions for adverse effects of disasters are keyelements of DRR process. Hence, DRR can be identified assystematic development and application of policies, strategiesand practices to minimise vulnerabilities and disaster risksthroughout a society, to avoid (prevention) or to limit(mitigation and preparedness) adverse impact of ent(International Strategy for Disaster Reduction,2004). DRR strategies have provided new global thinking inthe management of disasters and disaster risk (Niekerk, 2006).Legislative and policy approaches support to strengthen basicinfrastructures and to respond to needs of people effectively.Overall, according to UNISDR, there are four majorobjectives of DRR process. They are increase publicawareness to understand risk and vulnerabilities, improvescientific knowledge about disaster reduction (DR), obtain theattention from public authorities to create and implementDRR policies and actions and foster interdisciplinary andPage 60
International Journal of Research and Innovation in Social Science (IJRISS) Volume III, Issue VIII, August 2019 ISSN 2454-6186intersectional partnerships relatedAmaratunga, and Haigh, 2009).VI.toDRR(Ginige,MAINSTREAMING GENDER FOR DISASTERRISK REDUCTIONGender can be simply defined as a socially constructed rolesand responsibilities related to men and women. Those rolesand responsibilities have associated with being male orfemale. The concept of gender also consists expectationsassociated with characteristics, attitudes, behaviours related tofemininity and masculinity (UNESCO, 2003). Therefore, it isnot an ascribed status or role by birth, and it is a sociallearning through socialization process. Gender is shaped bysociety, culture and social relations and interactions. Hence, itis a social and cultural construct, which distinguishesdifferences in the attributes of men and women, girls andboys, and accordingly refers to the roles and responsibilitiesof men and women (UNICEF, 2007). Gender roles aredifferent from culture, society and historical periods.Therefore, these roles can change over time to time with thedynamics of social norms and values. “Mainstreaming is aprocess rather than a goal that consists in bringing what canbe seen as marginal into the core business and main decisionmaking process of an organization” (UNESCO, 2003:05).Gender roles of women and men consists differentresponsibilities, power, authority, decision making andknowledge. Therefore, it is important to understand, theeffects and magnitude of a hazard and a disaster can affectmen and women differently. In this context gendermainstreaming in DRR is significant to enhance resilience,gender equity and equality. Gender equality does not ensureonly through men targeted or women targeted programmes.Hence, it is important to improve collective efforts andconditions and a profound transformation of the structure andorganization which embodied root-causes of gender inequalityand subordination. In this context, it is significant to identifylatent characteristics a
namely Disaster and its classification, Disaster risk and Disaster Risk Reduction, Mainstreaming gender for Disaster Risk Reduction. IV. DISASTER AND ITS CLASSIFICATION Disaster is a phenomenon which can identify from the history of human civilization and it can be simply defined as an event
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