As Co-Director of the Natural Hazards Center, Mary Fran Myers inspired and supported many researchers to do excellent work on gender issues and reducing disaster losses. Although Myers passed away in 2004, two prizes established in her name continue to support those who shared Myers vision: The Mary Fran Myers Scholarship and the Mary Fran Myers Award. This year, three winners have been named in honor of Myers.

The Mary Fran Myers Scholarship

The Mary Fran Myers Scholarship selection committee chose two recipients to receive the 2015 Scholarship, which recognizes outstanding individuals who share Myers passion for disaster loss reduction nationally and internationally. The Scholarship provides financial support to recipients who otherwise would be unable to attend and participate in the Annual Hazards Research and Applications Workshop to further their research or community work and careers.

Kylah Forbes-Genade is a senior lecturer in disaster relief management at Stenden University in South Africa. She is currently finalizing her PhD, which focuses on vulnerable adolescent girls in South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Malawi at North West University in South Africa.

Forbes-Genade came to South Africa as the recipient of the Provention Consortium Research and Action Grants to implement the Girls in Risk Reduction Leadership (GIRRL) Project. Growing support for the GIRRL Project, led to her being invited to serve as a researcher and the head of Community Development and Outreach program at the African Centre for Disaster Studies. The opportunity to research and work in Southern Africa was a catalyst for her work with women and children in the context of developing countries and her focus on understanding the conditions that contribute to vulnerability, as well as to empowerment.

Kate Brady is the National Recovery Coordinator for Australian Red Cross Emergency Services, where she is responsible for coordinating the development of all recovery services and activities undertaken around the country. In this role, Brady also works with the New Zealand Red Cross to support the Canterbury Earthquake recovery efforts. Before she took her position with the national team, Brady headed the Red Cross Victorian Bushfire Recovery team, which was developed to support community recovery following the 2009 Victorian bushfires.

Brady is currently undertaking a PhD at the University of Melbourne, which examines what things help most during recovery from emergency from the perspectives of those affected. In 2010, Kate was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to look at long-term psychosocial recovery programs in the United States, United Kingdom, and China.

The Mary Fran Myers Award

The Mary Fran Myers Award was established in 2002 to recognize disaster professionals who continue Myers’ goal of promoting research on gender issues, disasters, emergency management, and higher education. The Gender and Disaster Network have named Akiko Domoto as the 2015 Mary Fran Myers Award winner.

Akiko Domoto is the president and coordinator of the Japan Women’s Network for Disaster Risk Reduction. She is particularly committed to issues of environment, disasters, and women prisoners with attention to human rights, gender equality, and diversity.

Domoto began her career as journalist, traveling extensively while making documentaries about human rights and equality, with a special emphasis on Tibet. Following that, Domoto was elected as a member of the Parliament Upper House of Japan in the 1990's. As a Parliamentarian, she was instrumental in getting the prime minister’s support to establish the Gender Equality Law in Japan in 1999. She was elected the first female governor of Chiba Prefecture in Japan in 2001, and served until 2009.