Accepted paper:

Social vulnerability of fisherwomen to climate stress and coastal hazards: 'Gender' discussions from the case of coastal Tamil Nadu, India.


Devendraraj Madhanagopal (Indian Institute of Technology Bombay)

Paper short abstract:

This article selectively utilize the field findings and narratives of the study that has been conducted in one of the highly vulnerable coastal zones in south India and discusses how the small-scale fisherwomen are differentially impacted and vulnerable to climate stress and coastal hazards.

Paper long abstract:

Small-scale fishers of Tamil Nadu are increasingly facing the effects of global environmental change, its localized climate stress impacts and the resulting coastal hazards. Globalization since the 1990s and the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami disaster have had multiple impacts on gender and social relations of women in the coastal areas of Tamil Nadu. However, most studies generally discussed about social vulnerability of fishers to coastal hazards in a 'whole' but did not consider the social vulnerabilities of women and their inadequate resilient capacities to face the disasters. Studies about social vulnerability of fishermen to disasters are considerably less in the disaster literature of South India. Considering the research gaps, this paper sets to discuss two research questions. i) How the small-scale fisherwomen are differentially impacted and highly vulnerable to the broad impacts of coastal stress? ii) How fisherwomen are 'placed' in local disaster risk reduction efforts and decision-making authorities? This study has been conducted in the highly vulnerable coastal villages of Tamil Nadu to climate stress and coastal hazards. Drawn from the selected qualitative findings, this paper shows that women have weak-roles in local decision making authorities and local disaster risk reduction efforts. Highlighting the 'weak' positions of fisherwomen in the local social systems this paper argues the need of more 'gender' mainstreaming in disaster risk reduction efforts.

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