UN Women on why gender disaster data matters

A gender and protection advisor with the UN Women’s office in Fiji, Philippa Ross writes in The Guardian about why gathering and using gender data is essential to effective humanitarian responses to natural disasters.  She points out the different skill sets and knowledge often held by men and women and says that by ignoring one gender’s set of skills, a country’s recovery from a disaster is necessarily hindered and slowed.

She uses women’s traditional knowledge of crops, food and diet as an example. If women aren’t consulted as part of the rationing of foodstuffs, vital information won’t be shared and transmitted to those who need to know, resulting in potential wastes of resources and time.

Additionally, Ross points out that when food is scarce, women are often expected to serve men and boys first, resulting in “particular post-disaster nutritional risks for women.”

Violence against women and girls is another particular vulnerability that is exacerbated in situations of humanitarian crisis, especially as the displacement and stress of a disaster tends to “intensify pre-existing risk factors for domestic abuse.”

State of the world’s mothers

“Each day, an estimated 800 mothers and 18,000 young children die from largely preventable causes.”

The Save the Children’s 15th annual report examines “the impact of humanitarian crises on maternal, newborn and child survival in countries consistently ranked as the most difficult places to be a mother.”

“The conclusion is obvious. Besides addressing the need for every country to be better prepared to assist mothers and children in emergencies, we also must begin the difficult but urgent task of working to provide stability in the most fragile regions of the world, and identifying ways of building better access to health care in these contexts. Ending preventable deaths of mothers and children will not be possible until such countries become more stable and health care more accessible.”

Read the full executive summary.

Why violence against women and girls is in no way comparable to violence against men

This video is an excellent explanation of how and why female-on-male violence is in no way comparable to male-on-female violence.

This was made as a rebuttal to some social media claims that society’s focus on ending violence against women and girls is distorting the current situation and giving it more importance than it deserves. The explanation, from the Women’s Resource Centre, is thoughtful and well-reasoned.

Angry face cross-culturally universal

As part of a large study into the evolutionary function of anger, researchers at UC Santa Barbara and Griffith University in Australia recently published a new set of results that show that the anger face “expression is cross-culturally universal. Even congenitally blind children make [the] same face without ever having seen one.”

The human angry face “is a constellation of features, each of which makes a person appear physically stronger.”  The features are a lowered brow; raised cheekbones (as in a snarl); lips thinned and pushed out; the mouth raised (as in defiance); the nose flared; and the chin pushed out and up.

Lead author Aaron Sell, a lecturer at the School of Criminology at Griffith University in Australia, said that “Our earlier research showed that anger evolved to motivate effective bargaining behavior during conflicts of interest.”

The research appears in the Evolution and Human Behavior journal, and an article about the work was published by Science Daily.

At present we know only that the imagination, like certain wild animals, will not breed in captivity. George Orwell