Civil Society to Urban Environmental Risk Management: Role of Women
beyond Natural Disaster
women spend more time at home and in their neighbourhood than do men.
They are not only concerned with themselves and their families, but
their well-being is also closely connected to communities.
Considering their roles in reproductive, productive and social
activities, women's position in the urban environment goes beyond
the domestic domain, spilling over into the public domain where urban
civil society takes part.
is known/ Studies have found that most women, especially those from
low income backgrounds face disadvantages when dealing with urban
environmental issues. If urban settlements lack acceptable sanitary
facilities, women (and their children) face greater adverse effects
than men. They are more vulnerable to hazards linked to environmental
risk and their impact on urban poverty.
managing urban environmental risks, participatory approaches which
include civil society are important. Women are part of civil society,
yet compared to men they remain invisible to the public sphere. It is
therefore essential to identify the role of women in civil society,
and to further assess their involvement in performing environmental
management activities. Urban environmental issues include the impacts
of natural disaster, and rapid and uncontrolled urbanisation
processes can lead to e.g. physical, social and economical changes
which have an impact on risk, especially if no adequate mitigation
and rehabilitation strategies are in place. Their multiple roles
expose women to significantly different risks than men. At the urban
scale, vulnerability is not only related to physical, but also to
social susceptibility and lack of resilience of communities (Cardona,
2003 and Rebotier, 2009).
on keywords women - urban civil society - urban environmental
risk management, this paper is purposely focused on two points:
contribution and role of women as actors in urban civil society. It
will be analysed which roles women play in civil society, and which
capabilities and what chances they have as as a part of civil
society. The core hypothesis is that women's
influence in civil society depends on access and their opportunities
to manage environmental risk.
Women's role in managing urban
environmental risk is especially crucial in the aftermath of natural
disasters. Women's strategies and their contributions to civil
society and whether the outcomes of these strategies are
sustainable, will be investigated.
a conclusion it will be discussed whether women participate in civil
society and whether they have potentials in managing environmental
risk, in order to show that women are also central to urban planning