Study of the Situation of Women Heads of Households in Natural Disasters:(Kermanshah 2017 Earthquake)

Document Type : Research Paper


Department of Sociology, Central Tehran Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran


Headed household women are among vulnerable and forgotten social groups in natural disasters, and cultural circumstances and gender-related issues affect how they manage the disasters. On the other hand, the agency will also be important in this encounter. This study examines the lived experience of the headed household women in Kermanshah from this perspective in the 2017 earthquake to provide a background model for "the process of empowerment of headed household women in natural disasters."
This study was conducted based on the qualitative approach and research method of grounded theory. Theoretical sampling and in-depth interviews with 15 headed household women in the eight areas of the earthquake in Kermanshah, including Thalas Babajani, Sarpol-e Zahab, etc. have been performed to a degree of theoretical saturation in order to collect field data. 363 primary concepts, 20 major categories, and the central concept of "intensifier of disabling social foundations" have emerged from coding the data and using the grounded theory method.
The phenomenon of "Capacity poverty - the threat of opportunities" (disabled women) caused by value systems and repressive ideologies dominated in the field of study, poor crisis management, poverty and deprivation in the region, and lack of technical knowledge and skills of participants that resulted in strategies of active action and social resilience and compromise. This study's findings show some consequences caused by the constructed phenomenon, helplessness and indifference, power challenges, threats and insecurity, feelings of abandonment, physical and psychological injuries, and children's challenge. The results determine that the process of "empowerment" of the headed household women in the appearance of natural disasters is conditional on conditions such as that opportunities to be obtainable through support structures and social barriers and restraints to be not so threatening and powerful as to prevent opportunities and cause deprivation of capabilities and they also consider themselves qualified to "agency".