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Empowering women during post disaster reconstruction

Thurairajah, N 2013, Empowering women during post disaster reconstruction , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

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The frequent occurrences of unprecedented natural disasters continue to pose the greatest threat to many countries around the world. The ‘shock’ that these natural disasters give has taken a toll especially on developing countries’ economies. Many vulnerable groups within these countries are the most severely affected by disasters. Among them, women face many difficulties during the post disaster phase. Apart from poverty, environmental degradation and different needs of men and women, the marginalised role of women in post disaster reconstruction further contributes to women's vulnerability in post disaster situations. In most of the instances, although disaster management efforts are designed to benefit both men and women, in practice a larger share of benefits and resources go to men while women continue to remain marginalised. One of the main sustainable means to overcome the marginalised conditions of women is through an adjustment process to allow them to fulfil their basic human development needs. The concept of empowerment is based on the understanding that those who have been denied the ability to make strategic life choices can acquire such ability through this concept. The concept of empowerment facilitates a process whereby individual attitudes and capabilities, combined with collaborative actions result in a transformation to the desired achievements. In this context, the research aims to explore and investigate the concept of empowerment for women within post disaster reconstruction in order to formulate a strategy that integrates community women’s empowerment in disaster reconstruction activities. This research takes a position in between a positivism stance and a social constructionism stance in the continuum of philosophy and adapts a survey research strategy with mixed methods of research techniques. The research data collection was conducted in three phases. During the first phase, semi-structured interviews were conducted among experts in Sri Lanka while the second phase focused on collecting the perspectives from disaster affected communities using structured interviews and questionnaires. The third phase gathered information from groups of the affected communities’ members. Data was then analysed using content analysis, cognitive mapping and descriptive statistical techniques. The research investigated women’s status in post disaster situations; effects of post disaster reconstruction on women; and established factors that influence women’s empowerment in post disaster reconstruction. In addition, the research recommended strategies that could empower women during post disaster reconstruction. It is expected that the research will add empirical evidence on the process of women’s empowerment in post disaster reconstruction to the existing body of knowledge, and will benefit the government, humanitarian organisations and research institutions working on women’s empowerment.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Themes: Built and Human Environment
Schools: Schools > School of the Built Environment
Schools > School of the Built Environment > Centre for Urban Processes, Resilient Infrastructures & Sustainable Environments (UPRISE)
Funders: European Social Fund
Depositing User: N Thurairajah
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2014 17:55
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2015 23:54

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