Applying a Gendered Lens to the Stay and Defend or Leave Early Approach to Bushfire Safety

Reynolds, B and Tyler, M 2018, 'Applying a Gendered Lens to the Stay and Defend or Leave Early Approach to Bushfire Safety', Australian Journal of Public Administration, vol. 77, no. 4, pp. 529-541.

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title Applying a Gendered Lens to the Stay and Defend or Leave Early Approach to Bushfire Safety
Author(s) Reynolds, B
Tyler, M
Year 2018
Journal name Australian Journal of Public Administration
Volume number 77
Issue number 4
Start page 529
End page 541
Total pages 13
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia
Abstract This paper provides an historical and cultural context, from a feminist perspective, of the Prepare, Stay and Defend or Leave Early (PSDLE) bushfire safety policy, colloquially known as 'Stay or Go', in Australia. We examine the historical, cultural, and political factors that have devalued and marginalised women's experience and knowledge of bushfire preparedness and response. The central tenet of Stay or Go is that able bodied, prepared people should remain with their houses during a fire threat, best embodied by the common maxim 'people save houses and houses save people'. This approach has been routinely presented as evidence-based policy but the argument presented here challenges the evidence base for the policy by applying a feminist analysis, through the application of a 'gendered lens'. This shows that an assumed masculine norm, at a number of different levels, has had a profound effect on the dominant readings of the available evidence about bushfire safety which has skewed bushfire safety policy and compromised the possibility of effective alternative responses. The PSDLE/Stay or Go policy is a prime example of the importance of applying critical feminist analyses to unsettle existing assumptions of policy development and implementation. Australian Journal of Public Administration
Subject Business and Management not elsewhere classified
Public Policy
Gender Specific Studies
Keyword(s) Disaster
Evidence-based policy
Gender dynamics
Gendered lens
DOI - identifier 10.1111/1467-8500.12268
Copyright notice © 2018 Institute of Public Administration Australia
ISSN 0313-6647
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