In Conversation with Dr Debra Parkinson

Doctor Debra Parkinson is the Director of Gender and Disaster Australia, an organisation established to promote an understanding of the role played by gender in survivor responses to natural disaster, and to embed these insights into emergency management practice.

Debra’s research following the 2009 Victorian bushfires has been a foundational tool in promoting a deeper understanding of the ‘hidden disaster’ of domestic and family violence following a catastrophic event and the importance of incorporating a gender lens into disaster resilience planning.

In this conversation, Scotia and Debra discuss:

  • how disasters impact women, children and LGBTQIA+ communities the importance of incorporating their safety as a key focus in disaster resilience planning
  • the evidence Debra and her team have been compiling since the Black Saturday bushfires and how this has increased awareness around issues of domestic and family violence – what changes have taken place since in this time and what still needs to happen to improve situations for women and children
  • Gender and Disaster Australia’s recent federal government funding to implement their training programs throughout communities in Australia
  • Examples of how arts and cultural practices have been utilised within this area of work to support families and children and how Debra and her team incorporate the arts in conferences and planning processes

Produced by Scotia Monkivitch and Jill Robson

Edited and mixed by Glen Morrow

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Case study library

Would you like to hear about more arts-based programs supporting and strengthening communities? Our case study library features a range of projects that harness the power of the arts to enhance all stages of disaster planning.