Ayeb-Karlsson, Sonja (2020, June). When the disaster strikes: Gendered (im)mobility in Bangladesh. Climate Risk Management. ePub in advance of print. (doi: 10.1016/j.crm.2020.100237) (Link: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2212096320300279?via%3Dihub)

Abstract: Gender influences people’s behaviour (such as (im)mobility decision) in various ways. This study investigates gendered (im)mobility during cyclone strikes in Bangladesh. A scenario where people described sometimes ending up unable to move away from environmentally high-risk locations and situations. The Q-based Discourse Analysis showed how and why gender-roles (im)mobilised people in three coastal study sites during the cyclones. People (and especially women) explained that failing to evacuate to the cyclone shelters when a disaster strikes was not uncommon. Gender, or feminine and masculine social roles, played a significant role in these evacuation decisions while facilitating or constraining their mobility. The gendered subjectivities outlined different accepted social behaviours and spaces for a men and women. In this way, immobility (social, psychological, and geographical) was strongly gendered. Masculine roles were expected to be brave and protective, while female ‘mobility’ could be risky. Women’s mobility therefore ended up being constrained to the home. In other words, when the disaster strikes, everyone did not have the same ability to move. These empirical insights are important to inform climate policy in a way that it better supports vulnerable populations worldwide confronting global environmental changes today and in the future.

Sonja Ayeb-Karlsson <s.ayeb-karlsson> is with the Brighton and Sussex Medical School, University of Sussex, Falmer, Sussex, UK; and the Institute for Environment and Human Security, United Nations University, Bonn, Germany.