Cross-cultural differences such as skin colour, gender, and education, define the social vulnerability of the society


However, studies also showed that there are cross-cultural differences in reasons that reduce a particular social group to vulnerability. For example, Flynn and colleagues (Flynn et al., 1994) demonstrated lower risk perception in white males compared to non-whites and females living in the USA (the so-called 'white male effect'). This finding was explained by the fact that women and ethnic minorities in the USA are often less educated and have lower levels of income compared to white men, which makes them feel more vulnerable in the context of different adverse events (Flynn et al., 1994). Contrary to this finding, no gender differences in perceived risk were found in Sweden, a country that is considered to be more gender egalitarian (Olofsson & Rashid, 2011). In addition, studies showed that the same social group could be vulnerable in one phase of a disaster but not in other (Huang et al., 2013; Kuhlicke et al., 2011). These findings indicate that social vulnerability should not be taken as universal phenomena neither within the same society nor between different countries. In favour of this conclusion, we should also add that lower level of perceived risk in men was sometimes explained by the fact that men show stronger ideological beliefs about masculinity (Morioka, 2014) or staying on their land at any costs (Billing, 2006).

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