Hurricane Harvey has already had devastating consequences, with intense flooding in parts of Texas and Louisiana and at least nine people confirmed dead. But natural disasters like Harvey also have long-term consequences, and these consequences appear to disproportionately impact those who are most vulnerable. Several studies have shown that women are disproportionately more affected by natural disasters than men, both directly and indirectly.
A 2010 report from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research attributed the greater risk women face to several factors. One is that women are more likely to live in poverty than men. According to the report, 25.9 percent of women in New Orleans were living below the poverty line when Hurricane Katrina hit the region, compared to 20 percent of men. These women were more likely to be living in public housing and less likely to have cars, so poverty significantly limited their mobility and prevented many of them from evacuating.