Faye is married to John and they have three children aged between 3 and 13 years. When the SES doorknocked at her home, Faye learnt that her house lies within a flood zone and there is a high risk that her home could be inundated in a storm. The SES explained to Faye that there are a number of specific actions that she can take to reduce the consequence of flooding to her family property. These included getting flood insurance for the property and securing gas cylinders and other large items in the backyard.
When Faye discussed the flood risk and mitigation options with her husband, she was met with resistance. John argued that the SES were scaremongering: he considered the flood risk to be low despite the local flood information material left with Faye by the SES. John told Faye that they could not afford the insurance and that he was too busy to secure the large items in the backyard.
Faye believes that the flood risk is real. She wants to take action but doesn’t have access to funds and doesn’t have her husband’s approval.
How can women with little decision-making power within their household be empowered to make choices and implement decisions to improve emergency preparedness without creating domestic and personal conflict?
5 VCOSS, Disaster and disadvantage: Social vulnerability in emergency management (http://vcoss.org.au/documents/2014/06/VCOSS_Disadvantage-and-disaster_2014.pdf)
6 Bushfire CRC Fire Note 101, Gender and Bushfire (www.bushfirecrc.com/resources/firenote/gender-and-bushfire) and Gender mainstreaming in emergency management: a training module for emergency planners, Elaine Enarson, 2009