Understanding Post-earthquake Gender Susceptibility in Balakot Tehsil, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan
Drawing on the theoretical perspectives of structural vulnerability and violence, this study examines how the ‘2005 earthquake’ in Pakistan affected the female gender. It aims to find out the unique experiences of the socio-cultural vulnerability of gender, which led them to migrate towards other places. It attempts to identify those factors which contributed to women's vulnerability. Qualitative research methods, such as key-informant and in-depth interviews, were used in this research. In-depth interviews were conducted by using a purposive sampling technique with thirty highly affected women of Balakot belonging to twenty-five households. The present study finds out six major themes, almost all dealing with a lack of privacy and females’ private domain. These include: a) gendered migration; b) ethnicity; c) problems of toilet and bathing; d) problems for pregnant women; e) difficulty in looking after the family; and, f) forced sexual relations. Data collection from respondents of different ages, class, and caste helped us to understand the lived experiences of the women of Balakot. The study finds out that gendered vulnerability plays a very important role in making decisions to migrate. This study might influence governments to bring the required changes in their policies to serve the women population better during and after disasters.