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Gender and Environmental Hazards

  • By: Sarah J. Halvorson
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

The human experience of environmental hazards is not only determined by forces in nature but also is contingent on social, political, economic, and cultural processes. An emergent literature in the hazards field emphasizes the concept of vulnerability, thereby drawing attention away from the “naturalness” of environmental hazards and toward the underlying reasons for the differences in exposure or impact that exist geographically. This work takes seriously several characteristics that mediate the vulnerability of individuals, households, and groups to risks and hazards. One important, yet relatively neglected, socially constructed characteristic influencing vulnerability to environmental hazards is gender. Gender interacts with age, class, caste, ethnicity, religion, economic position, and other underlying social processes to affect the conditions that influence exposure to hazardous situations in the environment. Gender ...

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