Gender & Heat: A Missing Dimension of Vulnerability?

Authors: Elizabeth Kurtz*, , Sharon Harlan, Northeastern University, David Hondula, Arizona State University , Megan Jehn, Arizona State University
Topics: Hazards and Vulnerability, Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, Gender
Keywords: gender, heat, extreme heat, vulnerability, disaster, hazard, weather, temperature, meteorology,
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Napoleon A3, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The differential exposures to and impacts of extreme heat on individuals’ and households’ mental, social, and physical health have been extensively documented. Socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, age, pre-existing health conditions, and physical environment have all been demonstrated to play a role in determining outcomes of extreme heat. Unlike other hazards such as hurricanes and floods, however, gender has not yet been investigated as a possible influence on heat exposure and impacts. This project uses data from 3Heat, an NSF Hazard SEES funded study of extreme heat and power outages, to uncover how gendered socialization and roles may shape the social and physical experience of a heat wave in Phoenix, Arizona. We explore gender in two contexts: a retrospective survey of extreme heat perceptions, cooling strategies, and experiences; and a vignette interview scenario combining a multiday regional power outage and heat wave. Preliminary results suggest that gender, especially gendered forms of social capital and family caretaking, act in concert with other social and physical characteristics (such as race and socio-economic status) to determine heat exposure and vulnerability.

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