Women continue to face discrimination in the aftermath of Katrina, which inhibits the recovery process, a study released last Friday reports. The study (see PDF), issued by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, was based on interviews with 38 women from ages 19 to 66 and from diverse ethnicities who lived through Katrina. The study showed women’s lack of access to housing, health care, and child care, putting women and children at risk for abuse and exploitation.
Dr. Avis Jones-DeWeever, the author of the report and the director of the national Council of Negro Women’s Research, Public Policy and Information Center, said in a press release (see PDF), “The women of New Orleans have been abandoned, not only in the immediate aftermath of the storm, but still today, over two years later, by the dearth of adequate policy response to their lingering severe needs. The women of New Orleans deserve a chance to rebuild their homes and the lives, to live in a place free of the constant threat of physical or sexual abuse, and have fair and equal access to jobs that offer decent wages.”
The report states that many women’s voices have gone unheard throughout the recovery process, so women’s needs are not being addressed. There is limited availability of housing, only one domestic violence shelter that survived the storm, and communities have been shattered. The report calls for a gender-informed relief strategy to end the economic and health problems women face.