So a 66 year old New Orleans grandmother is quoted as saying in Women in the Wake of the Storm, a report issued last week by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. (An accompanying press release can be found here.)
The extent of the forgetting, described in Ms online, is shameful:
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.
Equally troubling is the reason why women’s needs are left out of consideration in the planning being done. NO ONE IS ASKING THEM.
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. (MY STRESS)
The situation bring out another facet of feminist standpoint theory that Jender referred to in discussing another, but not entirely dissimilar situation. (And, most recently, here.) Standpoint theory draws our attention to the fact that the relatively underprivileged can have important knowledge that the privileged have difficulty discovering themselves. The current situation brings out why it can be hard to discover the knowledge that the other has. The problem is not just that those in charge forget to ask, or don’t think to ask. Rather, underneath that is the fact that disadvantaged women will not be seen as part of the group that possesses knowledge.