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GDN Founding Members

The following women and men are the founding members of the Gender and Disaster Network:

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Elaine EnarsonDr. Elaine Enarson is an American disaster sociologist currently teaching full-time in the Applied Disaster and Emergency Studies Department of Brandon University in Manitoba, Canada. Before relocating to Canada, she was lead course developer of a FEMA course on social vulnerability, project manager of a grassroots risk assessment project with women in the Caribbean and director of the on-line Gender and Disaster Sourcebook initiative. Currently, she is co-editing an international reader (Women, Gender and Disaster Risk Reduction:  Global Issues and Challenges), researching the health of farm families affected by BSE (“mad cow” disease), and developing Gender & Development and other new courses for Brandon University’s students of disaster. She is on the steering committee of the new Gender and Disaster Network of Canada, another ‘node’ on the wonderful family tree we began a decade ago. She tried to love the prairies (easy) and enjoy the cold (impossible), so will return to the US in 2008.

Maureen FordhamDr. Maureen Fordham, a senior lecturer in disaster management at the University of Northumbria in the United Kingdom, has a background in sociology of science and technology with a focus on ecology and environmental management. Her work has a special focus on women in disasters and disaster management, emphasizing their capacities and not just their vulnerabilities. Recently she has been focusing her work on children, females in particular, as active agents in disaster. Since the early 90s, Maureen has been an advocate for gender and disaster research and was one of the founding members of the Gender and Disaster Network. Committed to the free exchange of knowledge and information, she has been involved with the design and management of a number of disaster-related Web sites, including the Gender and Disaster Network and Radix (Radical Interpretations of Disaster), and has served as the editor of the International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters. Additionally, she is often invited to act as an advisor or participant in activities conducted by various divisions of the United Nations and other national, regional, and local governmental and nongovernmental organizations.

Suzanne Frew Suzanne Frew is a Hawaii-based, independent consultant (The Frew Group), with over 20 years of experience in disaster operations, planning, and capacity building. She specializes in strategic communications and partnership development for building community resiliency and sustainability. Suzanne brings her passion for integrating cultural and spiritual traditions of high-risk, multi-cultural vulnerable populations to all her work. She has worked with disaster management, public health, transportation, law enforcement and non-governmental sectors in Asia, Asia Pacific, Canada and the US. Her projects are wide-ranging, and include such efforts as multi-jurisdictional response plans, preparedness assessments, mitigation plans, and risk communication/social media outreach strategies. She supported volunteer technical community data crowdsourcing efforts during the 2011 Japan Earthquake and responded to the 2005 Hurricane Katrina and 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami with the IBM Crisis Response Team. Suzanne thoroughly enjoys empowering communities and organizations by developing and instructing innovative workshops and trainings. She is an instructor for the National Disaster Preparedness Center (University of Hawaii) where she co-developed and now instructs the Social Media for Natural Disaster Response and Recovery course. Previous efforts include serving as Team Leader for a national training and education program for the Government of Vietnam and instructor/developer for FEMA's Emergency Management Institute and ADPC (Thailand). She is determined to learn how to surf.

Anngienetta Johnson Dr. Anggienetta Johnson is the consummate lifelong learner.  Her illustrious career began at Texas Woman’s University where she earned a BA in mathematics (1971).  As a cooperative education student, she complemented her academic studies with work tours at National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).  Since then she has continued to develop new skills, knowledge and expertise, including earning two Masters degrees:  in Industrial Management (University of Houston) and in Information Systems Management (George Washington University).  Her determination to help those in crisis led her to pursue a Doctorate of Science Degree in engineering management with a specialty in Emergency Management from George Washington University’s Institute for Crisis, Disaster, and Risk Management. During her tenure at NASA, Dr. Johnson has held a variety of positions, including managing the development of Earth orbiting spacecraft and overseeing NASA’s institutional and informational assets. She has received numerous awards in recognition of her expertise and commitment to her posts. Dr. Johnson was named Outstanding Woman of the Decade in 1977 for her tireless efforts to inspire women to achieve professionally in science and technology and in November 2005 co-authored a chapter in "Success Strategies of Women in Science." That devotion to women’s advancement is equaled by her commitment to community work. It is quite common to find her comforting victims of fire, floods, tornados, or hurricanes.  She is also an enthusiastic advocate for the homeless, people living with disabilities, and the addicted.  In 2004, the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation recognized her significant contributions with the Volunteer Service Award. Dr. Johnson is currently the Senior Advisor for Safety and Mission Assurance of NASA.

Avagene Moore

Avagene Moore is President and Coordinator of the Emergency Information Infrastructure Project (EIIP). She is responsible for the management and coordination of the EIIP Partnership and oversight of the EIIP Virtual Forum and program schedules. Avagene is a Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) with 33 years of emergency management experience and is a past President of the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM). She served as the local emergency program manager in her home county for 16 years and worked four years in the Emergency Management Lab of Oak Ridge Associated Universities prior to her affiliation with the EIIP. She is a life-long resident of Lawrenceburg, Tennessee.

Betty Hearn MorrowDr. Betty Hearn Morrow is Professor Emeritus at Florida International University and former director of the Laboratory for Social and Behavioral Research at the International Hurricane Research Center. Her research focus on the effects of human and social factors on the ability of individuals, families and communities to respond to hazards is reflected in Human Links to Coastal Disasters published by the Heinz Center for Science, Economics, and the Environment. She is co-editor of The Gendered Terrain of Disaster and, more recently, co-editor of Women and Disasters. Over the last decade she has been part of a team of social scientists analyzing the effects of Hurricane Andrew on South Florida, funded by the National Science Foundation and resulting in the co-authored book, Hurricane Andrew:  Ethnicity, Gender and the Sociology of Disaster. She was the 2003 recipient of the Mary Fran Myers Award from the Gender and Disaster Network. Betty retired from academia in 2003, but continues an active research agenda as a consulting sociologist, primarily focusing on issues related to warning messages, evacuation, social vulnerability and community resilience.

Kristina PetersonRev. Kristina J. Peterson, known by some as the Mother Jones of Disaster, by virtue of 35 years of advocacy and activism for social and environmental justice. Her passion for sustainable equitable development is built on the belief that radical democracy is primary in addressing human and environmental rights.  She is a proponent of participatory action which demands the inclusion of the disenfranchised, the involvement of communities, the use of traditional knowledge in the engagement of the imagination for creative modes of futuring a just life-world. Currently at the University of New Orleans, she is a doctoral student and a research fellow at the Center for Hazards Assessment Response and Technology (CHART). Her work is focused on participatory action as a tool for the preservation and restoration of the Louisiana wetlands and for the resilience of traditional and indigenous, at-risk coastal communities. She pastors the Bayou Blue Presbyterian Church, a Cajun congregation, enjoys photography and designs jewelry as a way to support women’s development projects.  Her academic degrees include Urban Studies, Theology, and Ethics. Her extensive experience in resource development and health care have benefited her work as a Disaster Resource Specialist for Church World Service and as a member of the Presbyterian Disaster Response Team. She reviewed materials for the UN International Decade for Disaster Reduction and co-authored with Richard Krajeski, disaster publications used by the religious community. Kris has done presentations on vulnerable and at risk populations both at national and international fora. Appointed by the governor to the Maryland Foster Care Review Board, she championed the rights of children and youth in crisis. Kris lives in a warehouse with her husband, cat and brother.

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Gender in Disaster Contexts

Why are women more vulnerable?


- Women have less access to resources that are essential in disaster preparedness, mitigation and rehabilitation.

- Women are victims of the gendered division of labour.

- Because women are primarily responsible for domestic duties such as

childcare and care for the elderly or disabled, they do not have the liberty of migrating to look for work following a disaster. (PAHO Fact Sheet, Program on Women, Health and Development)

Read more in our Resources page.