Disastrous Violence: A Feminist Exploration of Gendered Vulnerability in the Climate Disaster Typhoon Haiyan
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Disaster studies, and climate policymaking has been primarily approached from a natural science-based perspective. However, gender is an important factor that determines an individual’s vulnerability to climate extremes and disasters and needs to be recognized in policymaking and disaster-risk reduction management. One form of such gendered vulnerability is vulnerability to sexual and gender-based violence. Studies have shown that in the wake of a climate disasters, (sexual) violence against women increases. One such example is the case study of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. In the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, reports of increasing violence against women were alarming. Through an intersectional, ecofeminist gender analysis, this thesis seeks to identify causes for the increase in violence after Typhoon Haiyan by considering humanitarian challenges the typhoon posed, as well as how the typhoon intersected with existing societal and patriarchal structures of inequality creating and enabling gendered violence. Through the example of the case study, this thesis examines how insights on gendered dynamics in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan can be used to strengthen policy frameworks on disaster-risk reduction and climate mitigation to reduce gendered vulnerability to sexual and gender-based violence. Gender, disasters, and climate change can no longer be treated as separate issues. An intersectional, ecofeminist and gender-transformative approach to policy frameworks is essential to treat gender, disaster-risk reduction, and climate change goals as inseparable, as the move towards sustainability and climate justice cannot be achieved without addressing and transforming inequalities producing gendered vulnerabilities.