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Whose risks? Gender and the ranking of hazards

Per Becker (Lund University Centre for Risk Assessment and Management, Lund, Sweden)

Disaster Prevention and Management

ISSN: 0965-3562

Article publication date: 30 August 2011




The purpose of this paper is to examine if gendered differences in risk perception automatically mean that women and men rank the hazards of their community differently, focusing any risk reduction measures on the priority risks of only part of the population.


The study applies survey research through structured personal interviews in three municipalities in El Salvador. The data are analysed using SPSS to find statistically significant associations.


It was found that there are no significant differences between the ranking of hazards of women and men in the studied communities. However, several other parameters have significant associations with the ranking of hazards, indicating that there are more dividing lines than gender that may influence priorities of risk reduction initiatives.

Research limitations/implications

A quantitative study can only indicate how gender and other parameters influence the ranking of hazards. In order to understand why, it must be complemented with qualitative research.

Practical implications

This study indicates that it is vital to communicate with and invite as wide a group of people as possible to participate in the risk reduction process. Not only women and men, but representatives with various livelihoods, income levels, level of education, locations of their dwellings, etc. If not, there is a danger that vital needs and opinions are left out and community commitments to risk reduction measures limited.


The paper presents a new pragmatic argument for wider participation in disaster risk reduction to policy makers and practitioners in the field.



Becker, P. (2011), "Whose risks? Gender and the ranking of hazards", Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 20 No. 4, pp. 423-433.



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Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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