Gendered Consequences of the Earthquake in Haiti

Posted on December 23rd, 2010 by Katherine Franke

If you follow the situation in Haiti, you know that the recovery and rebuilding from the devastating earthquake last January has proceeded slowly, and that cholera has now spread throughout the country – adding new forms of misery to a people already suffering from inordinate emiseration.

Gender Action, an NGO promoting gender justice and women’s rights in International Financial Institution (IFI) investments such as those of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, has just issued a report recounting the gendered implications of the earthquake and its aftermath.  Previous postings here have discussed the problem of sexual violence for women living in “Internally Displaced Persons” tent camps.  Gender Action, in its new Shadow Report, documents this and more by providing “the missing gender content for PDNA policymakers, donors, civil society groups and all stakeholders involved in Haiti’s reconstruction. It follows a parallel outline to the Post-Disaster Needs Assessment by presenting issues related to governance and accountability, environment and disaster risk reduction, social sectors, infrastructure, the economy and cross-cutting themes.”

The Gender Shadow Report notes that it “is imperative for women’s full participation and leadership in all phases of the reconstruction of Haiti, as mandated by UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and other internationally recognized standards that were reprioritized at a recent Millennium Development Goal summit. These standards require that a gender perspective be integrated into ongoing post-disaster and reconstruction planning at every stage: assessment, planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. Overcoming gender discrimination requires implementing the legal policy architecture that upholds the full range of Haitian women’s human rights, including social and economic rights. Women’s political and community leadership and care-giving work must be recognized and supported by policy and program mandates, as well as by resource commitments, that enable women to play meaningful, sustained and formal roles in the recovery process. Ultimately, this is the only way to rebuild Haiti on a more equitable and disaster-resilient foundation.”


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