Publication Details

Whittaker, J., Eriksen, C. & Haynes, K. (2015). More men die in bushfires: how gender affects how we plan and respond. The Conversation, 27 November 1-3.

Link to publisher version (URL)



The recent bushfires in Western Australia and South Australia are a reminder of the deadly potential of bushfires in this country. Four people lost their lives in the WA fires, and two people are confirmed to have died in the SA fires. It is now well documented that women and men are exposed to bushfire risk in different ways and degrees due to everyday divisions of labour and gendered norms. A range of factors influence how people prepare for, respond to, and recover from bushfire. These include: the type of work they do; responsibilities for children, older and disabled people; and the distribution of decision-making power within the household. Gender roles often mean that women take responsibility for the safety of vulnerable household members, while men protect the home and property. A number of studies have documented the tendency for women to want to leave and men to stay and defend.