The discord between discourse and data in engendering resilience building for sustainability

Bradshaw, Sarah, Hawthorne, Helen ORCID logoORCID: and Linneker, Brian (2020) The discord between discourse and data in engendering resilience building for sustainability. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 50 , 101860. pp. 1-7. ISSN 2212-4209 [Article] (doi:10.1016/j.ijdrr.2020.101860)

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This paper explores how gender is considered in the resilience discourse, and the extent to which there is an evidence base to support the targeting of women in resilience programmes. The paper provides an overview of the approaches adopted in the fields of gender and development and gender and environment, and the critiques of these approaches. Mainstream approaches to engendering policy and practice are charged with being essentialist and instrumentalist, drawing on women’s ‘natural’ attributes and altruism, placing women at the service of the policy agenda, rather than served by it. Despite these critiques it highlights how these approaches have been borrowed by ‘newer’ policy arenas such as disasters and within this, resilience building. An analysis of the gendered language in resilience highlights a contradictory discourse, presenting women as vulnerable and as agents for change, and an explicit instrumentalism. The paper notes that in the disaster resilience discourse much of the focus actually remains on vulnerability, problematising this and how vulnerability/resilience are defined and measured generally, and in gender terms. The pseudo-scientific constructions of ‘objective’ knowledge at the base of much policy are critiqued from a feminist theoretical and practical perspective. It concludes that there is no reliable evidence base on which to base any policy moves to ‘engender’ resilience. As such the focus on women in resilience must be based on gendered assumptions and/or other policy aims, and as such the inclusion of women in resilience building is more about efficiency, than about equality.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Law
Item ID: 30969
Notes on copyright: © 2020. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
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Depositing User: Sarah Bradshaw
Date Deposited: 15 Sep 2020 08:45
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 18:08

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