Strategies for women's empowerment through post-disaster reconstruction in Sri Lanka

Dilanthi Amaratunga, Nirooja Thurairajah, Pournima Sridarran

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Women are often left out of formal planning and decision making of disaster management procedures and marginalised from community authorities. As such, their needs and concerns are often overlooked, and their profound contributions frequently go unrecognised. Accordingly, the purpose of this research is to propose strategies to enhance women’s empowerment during post-disaster reconstruction in Sri Lanka. The paper is based on a qualitative study that comprises of three phases of data collection, including expert interviews and dis- aster-affected community interviews. The empirical study for this paper was conducted in Sri Lanka. The first phase of data collection contributed to the second phase design. The results are then triangulated with a comprehensive literature review and another set of interviews from the third phase. The paper presents strategies for women’s empowerment by highlighting women’s difficulties, opportunities and obstacles that are present during postdisasters, enablers, and women’s role in empowerment during post-disaster reconstruction. The strategies are presented in different phases of reconstruction at the household level and community level, to attain individual empowerment and collective empowerment. Women’s empowerment in post-disaster has been widely highlighted among related studies. However, a limited academic engagement is shown in integrating women’s empowerment in post-disaster reconstruction. Further, the literature hardly contains any empirical evidence on the elements in the process of women’s empowerment within the reconstruction context. Thus, strategies for women’s empowerment based on rigorous academic research is significant to reduce disaster vulnerabilities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication10th International Conference on Structural Engineering and Construction Management (ICSECM)
PublisherUniversity of Peradeniya
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9789555892735
Publication statusPublished - 17 Oct 2020
Event10th International conference on Structural Engineering and Construction Management: Special Session on Disaster Risk Reduction - Earl's Regency Hotel, Kandy, Sri Lanka
Duration: 12 Dec 201914 Dec 2019
Conference number: 10 (Conference Website)


Conference10th International conference on Structural Engineering and Construction Management
Abbreviated titleICSECM2019
Country/TerritorySri Lanka
Internet address


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