The Mary Fran Myers international award was presented to Debra Parkinson on behalf of a broad gender and disaster collaboration – the researchers (Deb and the late Claire Zara), the Gender and Disaster Pod (Susie Reid, WHGNE; Helen Riseborough, WHIN; and Emeritus Professor Frank Archer, MUDRI), Emergency Management Victoria (EMV) and Dept. of Health and Human Services, the GAD Taskforce and the community. Presented by Dr Maureen Fordham, Professor of Gender and Disaster Resilience, University College of London, on July 11, 2017, the presentation was in the opening session of the 42nd Natural Hazards Workshop in Broomfield Colorado.

The Award Certificate states:

This award acknowledges the leadership of the team associated with a range of projects associated with the Victoria Wild Fires of 2009 and subsequent risk resilience initiatives, but also the collaborative work across researchers and practitioners based at Women’s Health NGOs, Monash University, and emergency management and health protection organisations in Victoria, Australia.

The award is an important recognition of the Victorian based research in the field of gender and disaster, your innovative collaboration and the sustained way the team has addressed issues that are of significance locally, nationally and internationally.

In recent years, the research team has included the dedication and commitment of Alyssa Duncan, Cathy Weiss, Kiri Joyce, as well as collaborative partners from other organisations.

Photo of flood mitigation engineer bringing his child to work.

This award is a wonderful acknowledgement of the collaboration that underpins our achievements over the past eight years. Thanks so much for your contribution through the GAD Taskforce, and in many other ways.

Our enormous gratitude also goes to the women and men in the fire-affected communities who so generously gave their accounts of Black Saturday and its aftermath, and to the key community people who spread the word and helped with all aspects of our work. The research – and the subsequent resources and outcomes – wouldn’t have happened without their help.

Part of the award was a trip to Broomfield, Colorado to attend attended the three-day Natural Hazards Workshop, and a visit to areas in Colorado recently affected by both wildfire and flood. The area spans Boulder, Denver and the Rocky Mountains and is a place of incredible beauty. Debra said, ‘It was an honour to be introduced by the Director, Professor Lori Peek, and to receive the award from my friend and colleague, Professor Maureen Fordham, knowing there were so many people there, who have inspired and informed our work. The work of Mary Fran and each of the previous winners is remarkable. Joining these elite ranks is such a privilege for me personally and I can only imagine how excited Claire would have been’. Debra presented as part of a panel celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Gender and Disaster Network. One of the original founders, Dr Elaine Enarson, was both mentor and tour guide for Debra for the days before the conference, as the photos show!

It was fantastic to see  another Victorian in the USA, as Lisa Jackson from EMV was also on stage receiving a Scholarship Award!

Dr Debra Parkinson with Lisa Jackson, EMV, scholarship award recipient.

Boulder, Colorado.

Dr Lori Peek, Director of  the Natural Hazards Centre in Colorado and Professor of Sociology, University of Colorado-Boulder, Debra Parkinson, Manager of the GAD Pod, and Dr Maureen Fordham, Professor of Gender and Disaster Resilience, University College of London.