Leading the way on gender and disaster

About Gender and Disaster Australia (GADAus)

Gender and Disaster Australia Ltd. or ‘GADAus’ is the leading national organisation offering evidence-based education, training and resources to address the harmful impacts of gendered expectations in disaster.

Primarily funded by the Department of Social Services under the National Plan to End Violence Against Women and their Children, GADAus has demonstrated expertise in gender and disaster research, training policy, contributing to improved and more inclusive responses to the increasing number of climate-related disasters across the country.

A Company limited by guarantee with a Board of Directors, GADAus is Chaired by Amanda Hede and with representation from Women’s Health In the North and Monash University (legacy organisations). This project is further informed by an Expert Advisory Committee with experts from each state and territory across Australia, Chaired by Elizabeth Broderick AO, former Sex Discrimination Commissioner and current Special Rapporteur and Independent Expert for the UN Working Group on Discrimination against Women and Girls.

Our legacy and foundations

Established in 2015 as ‘The GAD Pod’, this work is grounded in extensive qualitative research by Dr Debra Parkinson, Claire Zara and others dating back to 2009 in the aftermath of the Black Saturday bushfires. Their research, The Way He Tells It: Relationships after Black Saturday, was the first of its kind in Australia to identify and examine the link between disasters and violence against women.

Adding to the growing body of research globally that shows increased rates of gender-based violence (GBV) in disaster, The GAD Pod initiated a wide range of projects and research that has accelerated the knowledge, policy and practice of the gendered risks of disasters in Australia, including the impact on long-term disaster resilience.

In 2012, The GAD Pod hosted the first conference on natural disasters and family violence, Identifying the Hidden Disaster, galvanising interest with key stakeholders and leading to a successful partnership between legacy organisations Women’s Health In the North (WHIN), Women’s Health Goulburn North East (WHGNE) and Monash University’s Injury Research Institute (now MUDRI).

A new national focus

In 2022, the Federal Government made a significant commitment by funding this work on a national scale. Building on a decade of research and training, GADAus is currently working closely with key stakeholders across each state and territory to embed gender-informed disaster preparation, response and recovery in practice.

Having already reached over 1,000 participants from the emergency services sector, local government, women’s health, and disaster-affected communities across the country, including Lismore and northern NSW affected recently by flooding, the GADAus team brings a gendered analysis and strong evidence-base to inform more inclusive disaster risk reduction, resilience and responses.

Major awards and achievements

  • Resilient Australia Award (2019)
    for ‘Nationally Significant Projects’, awarded to The GAD Pod for its work on the National Gender and Emergency Management Guidelines.

  • Victorian Resilient Australia Community Award (2019)
    for Long-Term Disaster Resilience.

  • Mary Fran Myers Award (2017)
    awarded to Dr Deb Parkinson in Boulder, Colorado, recognising exemplary research in the field of gender and disaster.

  • Best Thesis in the Social & Political Sciences (2015)
    awarded to Dr Deb Parkinson for her thesis titled:  ‘Women’s experience of violence following the aftermath of the Black Saturday bushfires’.

  • Resilient Australia Award (2014)
    sponsored by the Attorney-General’s Department for ‘Projects of National Significance’.

  • Victorian Health Promotion Foundation Award (2013)
    for ‘Family violence after natural disaster research: Breaking new ground’.

  • Published by Oxford University Press (2022), confirming that an increase in gender-based violence or GBV in disasters is evident worldwide.
  • Research cited in the Royal Commission (2020) into National Natural Disaster Arrangements (Recommendation 22.5) and in Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence (2016).
  • Presented Gender and Disaster Position Statement at World Association of Disaster and Emergency Medicine (WADEM, 2019).
  • Long-Term Disaster Resilience research report highlighted in Federal Parliament by MP (Indi) Cathy McGowan.
  • Developed National Gender and Emergency Management Guidelines, which were accepted by UNISDR PreventionWeb, the global disaster risk reduction community platform.
  • Presented research at conferences and events globally including Copenhagen (Denmark), Boulder (Colorado, US), Wellington (NZ), Dundee (Scotland), Yokohama and Tokyo (Japan).