The intersection of Gender and Social Class in Disaster: Balancing Resilience and Vulnerability


Fordham, M.








Gender and Floods




Xlibris Corporation

Full Harvard Reference:

Fordham, M. (1999). The intersection of Gender and Social Class in Disaster: Balancing Resilience and Vulnerability. International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters. March Vol 17, No. 1:15-36.

This chapter focuses on the intersection of gender and social class within the context of a flood event and argues for a more intersectional approach throughout disaster management, response and recovery. The chapter begins by critiquing the homogenisation of groups labelled as ‘victims’, as well as the lack of consideration given to varied experiences within social groups, arguing that understanding and recognising difference within disasters is part of a solution not a problem. Two case studies of major flood events in Scotland were used, the first being Perth, 1993 and the second, Strathclyde, 1994. After conducting multiple in-depth qualitative interviews after the flood events with working-class and middle-class women and men, the study determined that women from both working-class and middle-class backgrounds had largely different experiences during and after the flooding. Though middle-class women had the social and cultural capital and resources to be resilient in the event of a flood, this also acted as a vulnerability. On the other hand, working-class women had day to day resilience and coping strategies to cope with the ongoing competition for resources as well as strong community and kinship networks.