Weathering the Storm: Understanding Environmental Security through Intersectional Gender Analysis



Harding, Adrienne

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This thesis explores the relationships between gender, security, and the environment. Today, world leaders and international NGOs recognize climate change as the greatest threat to national and international security. It is important for policymakers to understand the complexity of conflicts and issues that arise from this threat. Traditional approaches to security that prioritize the military and police, while neglecting the environment and gender disparities that exist in policies and institutions are not sustainable nor appropriate in the face of a threat of this magnitude. There is only one atmosphere that we all must share. In the past decade, research has begun to focus on gender conflicts that have arisen from environmental degradation and natural disasters. People living in poverty are the most impacted by climate change, and more women are living in poverty than men. Women are also more likely to be killed in a natural disaster than men. These data indicate that more research is needed to understand what factors contribute to women’s vulnerability in the context of environmental security. This research is intended to help conflict resolution practitioners, researchers, and policymakers understand the significance of these, relationships which is essential for program design, program evaluation, and policymaking. To illustrate these concepts, four natural disasters were examined as case studies: the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the 2010 floods in Pakistan, and Typhoon Haiyan that struck the Philippines in 2013. I collected data from reports published by the UN, Oxfam, and other international disaster relief agencies and analyzed them using a gendered lens based on intersectional feminism. The findings from this research demonstrate the complexities of gender conflicts in natural disasters, and the need for researchers from environmental and gender studies fields to expand their scope to be more cognizant of these dynamics.



Gender, Conflict, Development, Environment, Security, Analysis