Gender and disaster

Download 99.02 Kb.
Size99.02 Kb.

EMGT 629.5

Millersville University

MS Emergency Management

Course overview
This course introduces students to the growing body of literature on sex, gender and gender relations in the context of natural, technological or human-induced hazards and disasters. We analyze gender differences and inequalities through the disaster cycle and gender as a cross-cutting theme in other patterns of disaster vulnerability and resilience. While the theoretical orientation of the course is the sociology of disaster, assigned readings are drawn from many disciplines and include theoretical writing, empirical case studies, conference papers, first-person narratives, NGO reports and governmental policy documents. We will engage with broad intellectual questions, but always return to the practical: How can this science-based knowledge best be used to build safer, more just and more disaster resilient communities? In addition, while the gender subfield is constructed globally, taking different forms in different contexts, our work this term highlights the experiences, feelings and ideas of women facing hazards and disasters in the United States. Gender as a factor in the lives of men and boys in disaster contexts is still under-developed in theory, research and practice but you will find a lot to think about in the assigned women-focused readings.
This is a new field so we will be close intellectual collaborators this term. I look forward to working with you and especially to your contributions to the Gender and Disaster Resilience Tool Kit we will develop together.
Learning objectives
At the conclusion of this course, I expect you will be able to:

  • Relate the social construction of sex- and gender- based vulnerabilities to hazards and disasters

  • Compare and contrast women’s and men’s disaster experiences across social locations and cultures

  • Analyze sex, gender and gender relations as factors in each phase of the disaster cycle

  • Identify capacities as well as vulnerabilities arising from women’s and men’s life experiences

  • Assess the breadth and depth of the subfield and identify research gaps

  • Critique dominant approaches in emergency management from a gender perspective

  • Identify new applications of research-based knowledge in this field for emergency management

  • Improve your research, writing and presentation skills including effective use of electronic resources

More about my teaching and grading
I anticipate, welcome, encourage, and require your active participation in this class as we are all both teachers and learners. I will do my best to answer your questions, respect your ideas, point you in new directions, and help you become both a self-learner and a teacher of others. In doing so, we will all think and write in ways that respect and reflect the diversity of peoples in the US and the world, and will conform to the conventions of “netiquette” in all our communication (among others, see
We are here to exchange ideas and learn from one another—not always to agree. Vigorous debates are likely and welcome, and every student’s views will be heard and respected. While I teach from a feminist perspective, I don’t assume this to be yours necessarily; however, much of our discussion will concern change strategies promoting social justice and the empowerment of women as this is central to increased disaster resilience. As in all MU courses, we will honor the confidentiality of those who elect to share personal information or feelings with the class, always exploring and respecting difference in a positive way.
Good graduate level writing, including research, analysis, organization, composition and referencing, is expected of all students. I am happy to offer help as feasible and have posted guidelines for proofreading that may help you catch common errors. But do take advantage of writing tutors available to you at MU--their help can be invaluable and the same is true of the reference librarians. Both should become your best friends.
Please note that I do reserve the right to make changes or additions as needed to this syllabus, but will not do so without advising you in a timely way.
Academic Integrity
Academic honesty is an essential premise of our work together. If you are uncertain about MU’s policies in this area, please revisit them here:
In our increasingly electronic era, it is easy to lose sight of the principles of fair use. This makes good referencing and citation all the more important for a competent and ethical writer. When in doubt, cite your source including specific page numbers for specific quotations or facts.
You should know that I have had to take steps in the past leading to severe disciplinary actions against students as as result of plagiarism or other forms of intellectual dishonesty.

Millersville University strives to serve all students equally. Should you require alternative assignments or other accommodations due to a disability, please let me know as soon as possible and we will work together with disability services at MU to meet your needs. This applies as well if your class participation is affected by regious holidays.

Graduate school doesn’t last forever! Please take advantage of this time in your life for intensive research, reading and writing. Specifically, you can expect to read from 50-75 pages of assigned readings each week, varying in scope and complexity. Please plan ahead to organize your time accordingly, including for independent research and writing and your small group work.
Two texts and one on-line document are required. Your campus bookstore can help you order: Textbooks may also be ordered online through commercial sites such as Amazon or Borders.

1. Heads Above Water: Gender, Class, and Family in the Grand Forks Flood, Alice Fothergill, SUNY, 2004

2. Women and Disasters: From Theory to Practice, Brenda Phillips & Betty Hearn Morrow, eds. XLibris,

3. Katrina and the Women of New Orleans, NCCROW, 2008 (pdf provided on course website)

Additional short readings are also assigned, many of which you will find posted on the course website. Check out Accessing Required Readings on the website for tips on locating other readings.
Postings to the course website are our primary means of communication in this course, and my best indicator of your active and informed electronic participation.
We will also meet in the Virtual Classroom every Thursday from 7-8:15 on the dates indicated (see below). I would like to keep this time as fluid and non-scripted as possible so we will always begin with an open dialogue—“What’s on your mind tonight?” This is our time to talk over your posted responses to some of the readings questions, and to share thoughts about the guest speakers, short writing assignments, Tool Box projects, etc. It is also the equivalent of Office Hours so bring your general questions or concerns about the course.
Please use the chat rooms and forums set up on our website to share resources and ideas with others.
Time will fly so plan ahead and log in early, avoiding last-minute technical glitches. Consistent tardiness in logging in to the Virtual Classroom will lower your grade.
Collaboration is essential in disaster risk management, so I encourage student interaction and group work in this class. Be conscious of how your actions affect others; posting your thoughts on time so that others may respond to them before the deadline is essential. You will also want to meet your responsibilities to your small work group as the Tool Box Portfolio project develops in the final weeks of the class.

We will all use only the MU email address we were provided and communicate by email through the course website. I do not promise rapid turn-around at all times but will be as accessible as possible during the work week, especially on Thursdays and on Friday mornings.
Would you like to discuss a personal matter or go over your work in more depth? Please email me to set up a time for a call by Skype or email me at this address: using the subject head MU Personal.
Do double-check your emails and postings before you click Send or Upload, remembering that everything you write becomes part of the class archive and is visible to me and to every other student.
Group work in cyberspace will mean many emails! Please do not revert to private emails but use the Group work space and chat rooms provided on our website.
General grading guidelines
Postings will be evaluated on the basis of their timeliness, thoughtfulness, writing and referencing, and evidence of your engagement with the core concepts and assigned readings of this class. All postings are due by midnight (in your time zone) on the day indicated and early postings are fine. Please adopt a professional tone in these on-line conversations and use APA formatting for all in-text citations and for the reference to any sources that you cite. These should include relevant assigned readings and others that are appropriate. While I will not respond to your postings directly, I do watch them closely and respond to the class discussion overall.
Late work is not accepted in this course without penalty and may not be accepted at all at my discretion, for example if it is submitted weeks late with no prior dialogue. Unless otherwise noted, assignments considered ‘on time’ must be submitted electronically by midnight on the date indicated. Don’t let technological glitches in posting lower your grade—post early when possible to allow for any delays or glitches on your end or MU’s.
Late work justified by conditions outside your control may be accepted without penalty if you and I have discussed this in advance or you provide acceptable documentation. Generally, this refers to a funeral, serious illness, unavoidable travel delay or work conflict-- and this is a determination I make personally. Early submissions are welcome. If you anticipate a conflict (e.g. a training session, work event, child’s birthday, conference), let me know to expect early work.
Unexcused late work will be docked by a half grade every day past the deadline including weekends or holidays. As in the case of late work, unexcused absences from the Virtual Classroom will reduce your grade by one-half a grade for every live class meeting. The conditions applying to late work also apply here.
Letter grades will be assigned to each assignment submitted on time and you may track and calculate progress toward your final grade through the course website. These are the basic criteria for earning full points on your assignments:

  • No late submissions (see below)

  • Complete assignments conforming to all assignment guidelines

  • Thoughtful and analytic responses demonstrating creative and independent thinking

  • Arguments or positions well-supported by scholarly sources including assigned readings

  • Effective use of specific ideas or data from assigned and independent readings

  • Good use of standard English (organization, grammar, punctuation, vocabulary)

  • Complete citation provided where needed using APA with few and minor errors

A= 100-90. Excellent writing, well organized, demonstrating thoughtful analysis and effective use of course materials, meeting all guidelines

B= 89-80. Clearly above average, with demonstrated effort to integrate course materials, generally well-written and well-organized, meeting essential guidelines

C= 79-70. Average work, with understandable college-level writing, application of some course materials, complying with the most essential guidelines and requirements

D= 69-60. Below average with little reference to course materials, failing to follow guidelines, poorly written and poorly organized)

F= below 60. This work falls below the D level; all plagiarized writing is failing work.
Incompletes should be avoided like the plague—and be aware that I agree to these only very rarely, under exceptional circumstances. Be in touch immediately if you think you may have to ask for an Incomplete.

Class structure and process
Each week, we will cover a new topic as you learn more about this subject. We will use these strategies to communicate and exchange ideas:
Weekly: my responsibility to post, generally by mid-day on Fridays

  • power point slides on the following week’s topic

  • taped comments on selected slides and/or other class topics and assignments

  • discussion questions on the readings assigned for the coming week

  • I will facilitate our weekly Thursday conversations but do let me know what’s on your mind

Weekly: your responsibility to post, no later than midnight on Wednesdays

  • 350-500 word substantive reply to one or more of the posted discussion questions. Your independent thinking and writing are expected, and explicit references in APA style to assigned readings

  • 200-350 word substantive reply to a discussion question post from one other student

  • Occasional short writing assignments (see Participation)

Weekly Virtual Classroom: Thursdays, 7-8:15 PM EST, starting and ending promptly

  • Bring along your general observations, questions or concerns about the class topic, assignments, expectations, resources, etc. (but take technical questions to the Help Desk, please)

  • Complete all readings and make all postings

  • Read all responses to readings posted by other students

  • Come prepared to share your thoughts about the readings and the week’s topic, or about assignment summaries posted by you and by other students

  • Come prepared to discuss relevant current events

Other posts:

  • Two written assignments posted on the dates indicated (see below).

  • Short written summaries of each paper posted by midnight on the Wednesday of the week it is due

  • Summaries of your work on short assignments (video, data, interview) and other topics, e.g. response to guest speakers

  • Take-home final exam posted by midnight on the last day of exam week

  • I may occasionally ask you to post your own questions on assigned readings

  • Each student work group will post two updates on progress toward their Tool Box project

  • Each work group will post a short slide show summarizing your Tool Box Portfolio, along with all materials included in the portfolio by Wednesday, Dec. 8. for discussion Thursday, Dec 9

  • You are also asked to share resources such as pdfs or links to academic articles and to such practical tools as training modules, practice guidelines, checklists for disaster management practice and policy, etc. No specific number is required but I will note your contributions when assigning final grades

Assignments and evaluation
Your letter grade is based on individual (80%) and group work (20%). Witih respect to the final group project, each of you will complete an evaluation form assessing your own contribution and that of every other student, which will supplement my own observations and evaluation. I strive to return student work rapidly but this is not always possible. To help you track your progress, I will assign a mid-term partaicipation grade as well.

  1. Writing/analysis (40%)

Paper # 1: Select one of the case studies from the Lesser Developed Country list and a second from the Highly Developed List, both posted under Selected Readings on the course website. Your five-page paper will develop a comparative analysis of a theoretical and/or practical concern of your choosing (see Assignment Guidelines). Due in Week 7.

Paper # 2: Select one of these four topics (health and safety, family, housing, or work) and write a 5-page paper that identifies and analyzes practical strategies for promoting gender-responsive mitigation, preparedness, relief and recovery in this area (See Assignment Guidelines). Due in Week 11.

  1. Gender and Disaster Good Practice Tool Box— group portfolio (30%)

You were assigned randomly to one of groups, each with four other students. Working together (using the tools provided on the website), you will select one of the options below and develop a practical EM tool demonstrating “good practice” with respect to gender.

  1. Preparedness

  2. Risk communication

  3. Hazard and risk assessment

  4. Community planning

  5. Media relations

  6. Psychosocial outreach guidelines

  7. Emergency health planning

  8. School-based campaigns to reduce risk

  9. Working with women’s groups to prevent gender violence in disasters

  10. Recovery planning

  11. Gender mainstreaming in EM organizations

  12. Gender and disaster risk reduction: Working with {specific populations] to reduce risk, e.g. GBLTQ, men/boys, new immigrant women, girls , etc.

  13. Other (make a proposal)

This is not a traditional term paper—the final product can incorporate a public relations campaign, photo essay, podcast, slide show, blogs, preparedness guide, original video or artwork, etc. Have fun with it! Samples will be posted and we will discuss possibile approaches in class.

Your work will include at least these six components: problem statement, literature review, critique of existing approaches or tools, specific suggestions for applying science-based knowledge in EM, a sample of the proposed new tool (we will discuss) and references. For each component, you will take turns taking the lead role as either the primary researcher, primary writer, or final editor (including posting). Your first task is to determine a feasible division of labor and timeline, posting this on November 11. Someone in your group will also upload two updates on the portfolio and you will collaboratively develop and post a power point slide introducing the new tool. Finally, you will post a short summary of the project for discussion on the last day of class.

  1. Final exam (20%)

I will post the take-home essay questions one week in advance. Your independent writing is expected as is effective use of all relevant course materials. This is your opportunity to demonstrate that you have completed and engaged with core concepts and with all assigned readings, and that you write at the graduate level. The exam must be posted by midnight on the last day of the exam period.

D. Class participation (10%)

  1. Posted summaries of your two papers

  2. 7 substantive replies to one or more of questions I pose each week

  3. 7 substantive replies to at least one other student’s response to a posted discussion question ( not substantially duplicating a response posted earlier by another student)

  4. Occasional short writing assignments posted, e.g. discussion questions for a guest speaker, or summary of the results of a short research assignment

  5. Your active and informed participation in the Virtual Classroom on Thursdays

  6. Positive and sustained contributions to the final group project

  7. The discussion your group leads of your Tool Box Portfolio on the last day of class

Getting started
Your first task, of course, is to ensure that you are properly enrolled, have a functioning password and campus email address, and can access the course website. If this is your first on-line course using this platform, I strongly suggest taking the student tutorial: Student D2L Tutorial. Please download and consult the Distance Learning Student Handbook which includes technical specifications and many help resources, among them this Live Chat connection to IT professionals:
You may also want to check out the FAQ page for MU distance education:
It is your responsibility to plan well in advance to ensure that you have the required technology capacity and skills to access and utilize all on-line materials. I cannot advise you in the event of problems (trust me) so please work closely with the experts.

Please note: E & C = Enarson and Chakrabarti (eds.), Women, Gender and Disaster: Global Issues and Initiatives, 2010; E & M= Enarson and Morrow (eds.), The Gendered Terrain of Disaster: Through Women’s Eyes, 1998; P & M= Phillips and Morrow (eds.), Women and Disasters: From Theory to Practice, 1997/2008. Readings in italics are not in your texts—see pdf folder on the course website.




Other assignments


[due by midnight Wednesdays]

Virtual Classroom Thursday 7 pm

Week 1

VC –


core concepts and issues

  • Fothergill, Introduction

  • Phillips & Morrow, Ch 1

(You may want to pick these up later if you cannot complete by Thursday.)


Post a photo and your 250 word bio
(Post as soon as possible if not by this Thursday.)

Open discussion
Introductions and expectations
Ten Take Away Lessons for EM-discussion of slides

Week 2

VC –

Theoretical perspectives

  • Ariyabandu, Ch 1 , E&C

  • Enarson and Phillips, Ch 2 in P&M

  • Enarson & Meyreles, 2004, International Perspectives

  • Either Enarson, Peek and Fothergill, Ch 8 in Rodriguez et al; OR Enarson , Ch 6 in Phillips et al

Watch in part or fuill one disaster movie or one disaster documentary of your choice

Post a 250-500 word response on gender in disasters based on the film

Open discussion
Discussion of disaster videos—images of women and men in popular culture

Week 3


Constructing gendered vulnerability

  • Bolin, Jackson & Crist, Ch 2 in E&M

  • Fordham, Ch 3 in P&M

  • Laska et al, Ch 1 in NCCROW

Pick any community in the US and search for sex-specific data that could indicate vulnerability

Post a 250-500 word summary of your findings

Open discussion
Discussion of your research assignment

Week 4


Gender concerns in EM: Health & Safety

  • Ch 2, 6, 7, 8 & 9 in NCCROW


Post 350-500 word response to readings questions AND 200-350 word reply to another student
Post 3 questions for our guest speaker on disaster parenting

Open discussion
Discussion of readings questions

Week 5

VC –

  • Ollenburger and Tobin, Ch 5 in P & M

  • Fothergil l, Ch 6 & 8



Guest speaker

Week 6


Gender concerns in EM: Family

  • Fothergill, Ch 3 and 7

  • Litt in NWSA

  • Peek and Fothergill in NWSA


Post 350-500 word response to readings questions AND 200-350 word reply to another student

Open discussion
Discussion of readings questions

Week 7

VC –

  • Hoffman, Ch 2 in E&M

  • Bateman & Edwards, Gendered evacuation

Watch video—Still Waiting: Life After Katrina or others tbd
Upload your first paper to the Drop Box by midnight Wednesday

Post your short summary of Paper # 1

Open discussion
Discussion of video
Discussion of your first paper topics

Week 8


Gender concerns in EM: Housing

  • Enarson, Ch 7 in P & M

  • Luft, Ch 5 in NCCROW

Papers returned

Post 350-500 word response to readings questions AND 200-350 word reply to another student

Open discussion
Discussion of readings questions

Week 9


  • Willinger, Ch 3 in NCCROW

  • Fothergill, Ch 9

Interview a practitioner or disaster-affected person by phone or email about gender through the disaster cycle

Post a 250-500 word summary or your interview

Open discussion
Discussion of interviews

Week 10


Gender concerns in EM: Work

  • Fothergill, Ch 4

  • Childers, Ch 8 in P&M

  • Willinger, Ch 4, NCROW

Post 350-500 word response to readings questions AND 200-350 word reply to another student

Open discussion
Discussion of readings questions

Week 11


  • Enarson, ILO report on women’s work and employment in disasters (skim)

Upload your second paper to the Drop Box by midnight Wednesday
Work on-line and/or thru Skype with your group to plan your Tool Box Portfolio

Post your short summary of Paper #2

Open discussion

Discussion of your second paper topics

Week 12

VC –

Community women responding

  • Enarson, What Women Do

  • Cox, Ch 11 in E&M

  • Enarson & Morrow, Ch 17 in E&M

  • David, in NWSA

Papers returned

Work with your group to plan your Tool Box Portfolio; post theme, approach, timeline and division of labor

Post 350-500 word response to readings questions AND 200-350 word reply to another student

Open discussion

Discussion of Tool Box portfolio

Week 13


Gender-responsive EM: mainstreaming

  • Wilson & Oyola-Yemaiel, Ch 9 in P&M

  • Krajeski & Peterson, Ch 10 in P&M

  • Barnecut, Ch 13 in E&M

Continue group work on Tool Box portfolio

Post 3 questions for guest speaker

Post 350-500 word response to readings questions AND 200-350 word reply to another student

Open discussion

Discussion of Tool Box portfolio
Discussion of reading questions

Week 14


Gender equality and disaster risk reduction

  • Enarson, Ch 24 in E&C

  • Anderson, Ch 4 in E&C

  • Mishra, Ch 3 in E&C

  • Either IASC Guidelines or ISDR Good practices report -- skim

Continue group work; draft all sections and the slide show presentation

Post 350-500 word response to readings questions AND 200-350 word reply to another student

Guest speaker

Week 15


Wrap up and review

No assigned readings

Finalize group project this week

Post slides on your final group project

Sharing of Tool Box Portfolios
Discussion of final exam questions

Final exam week

Take home exams due in Drop Box by midnight, last day of finals week

Download 99.02 Kb.

Share with your friends:

The database is protected by copyright © 2022
send message

    Main page