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Sri Lanka

Gender, Peacebuilding, and Reconstruction


Sweetman, Caroline, ed. 2005. Gender, Peacebuilding, and Reconstruction. Oxfam Focus on Gender. Oxford: Oxfam GB.

Author: Caroline Sweetman


This collection of articles examines the impact of armed conflict on women, men, and gender relations. Gender stereotypes of conflict depict women and children as powerless victims, while men are presented either as saviours of the weak and powerless, or as agents of violence and destruction. Reality is more complex. Women, girls, and boys also wage war as soldiers, often against their will. Atrocities committed against them give rise to desperate physical, mental, and material need, which reconstruction and peace initiatives must recognise and address. In addition, women need to be involved as decision makers in peace and reconstruction processes. These must founded on a vision of equality in governance and everyday social interactions, if a sustainable peace is to come about. Case studies included here come from India, Kosovo, Nicaragua, Sierra Leone, and Uganda.

Keywords: conflict, Disasters, protection, reconstruction


Table of Contents:
1. Editorial
Caroline Sweetman
2. Counter-revolutionary women: gender and reconciliation in post-war Nicaragua
Julie Cupples
3. Reconstructing fragile lives: girls’ social reintegration in northern Uganda and Sierra Leone
Susan McKay
4. Post-conflict programmes for women: lessons from the Kosovo Women’s Initiative
Agnes Kalungu-Banda
5. Mainstreaming gender in conflict reduction: from challenge to opportunity
Jasmine Whitbread
6. Promoting a gender-just peace: the roles of women teachers in peacebuilding and reconstruction
Jackie Kirk
7. Gender, participation, and post-conflict planning in northern Sri Lanka
Simon Harris
8. The gender dimensions of post-conflict reconstruction: an analytical framework for policymakers
Elaine Zuckerman and Marcia Greenberg
9. Building capacity to resolve conflict in communities: Oxfam experience in Rwanda
Rosemarie McNairn
10. Sustaining peace, re-building livelihoods: the Gujarat Harmony Project
Sara Ahmed

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Gender, Gender-Based Violence, Peacebuilding, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Violence Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, West Africa, Americas, Central America, Asia, South Asia, Europe, Balkans, Eastern Europe Countries: India, Kosovo, Nicaragua, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Uganda

Year: 2005

Tackling Women's Vulnerabilities through Integrating a Gender Perspective into Disaster Risk Reduction in the Built Environment


Ginige, Kanchana, Dilanthi Amaratunga, and Richard Haigh. 2014. “Tackling Women’s Vulnerabilities through Integrating a Gender Perspective into Disaster Risk Reduction in the Built Environment.” Procedia Economics and Finance 18: 327–35.

Authors: Kanchana Ginige, Dilanthi Amaratunga, Richard Haigh


The majority of human and direct economic losses from natural hazards occur as a result of damage to the built environment due to the vital role that the built environment performs in serving human endeavours. One of the key reasons for people in developing countries to be more vulnerable to natural disasters than their wealthier counterparts is the limited capacities in their construction industries. Among the people in developing countries, women are evidently even more vulnerable to natural disasters. Due to higher disaster vulnerability of women, recognising the different roles, capacities, vulnerabilities and needs of women, and considering them in disaster risk reduction in the built environment is significant to reduce women's disaster vulnerabilities. Gender mainstreaming as a way of bringing a gender perspective into disaster risk reduction can be applied to recognise the varying needs and capacities of women, and integrate them into disaster risk reduction in the built environment. The paper in this context aims to demonstrate how gender mainstreaming helps to bring a women's perspective into disaster risk reduction in the built environment. It identifies two main steps which involve in the process, identification of women's DRR knowledge and needs, and integration of the identified DRR knowledge and needs into DRR in the built environment. The paper provides an account of the process that the study established to incorporate a gender perspective into disaster risk reduction in the built environment based on a case study conducted in Sri Lanka. It further discusses how the social, economic, political and environmental context influences the process of gender mainstreaming in disaster risk reduction in the built environment.

Keywords: gender mainstreaming, women's vulnerability, disaster risk reduction, women natural disasters, Built environment

Topics: Economies, Environment, Environmental Disasters, Gender, Women, Gender Mainstreaming, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Sri Lanka

Year: 2014

Gender in the Context of Disaster Risk Reduction; A Case Study of a Flood Risk Reduction Project in the Gampaha District in Sri Lanka


De Silva, Kushani, and Ramanie Jayathilaka. 2014. “Gender in the Context of Disaster Risk Reduction; A Case Study of a Flood Risk Reduction Project in the Gampaha District in Sri Lanka.” Procedia Economics and Finance 18 (1): 873–81.

Authors: Kushani De Silva, Ramanie Jayathilaka


During the last four decades floods have been the main disaster that affected the highest number of families in Sri Lanka. At present, flood risk reduction is seriously taken into consideration by relevant authorities taking mitigation actions to save lives and properties. Literature on gender and disasters shows the importance of gender in disaster mitigation to bring better results. Thus the present study is an attempt to understand the importance of gender dimension in a flood disaster risk reduction project implemented in Sri Lanka. The study was conducted in two Grama Niladari divisions Pamunuwila and Galedanda in the Gampaha district where the project “cleaning Natha Ela” was implemented during in to address the issue related to floods in the area. The overall objective of the research was to understand, whether gender has been adequately addressed in the project management cycle of the flood risk reduction project and its consequences.

The study revealed that women were more vulnerable to the flood disaster compared to men, due to differences in employment status, income, gendered social roles, social norms and restrictions governing behaviour. Even though the communities experienced a significant reduction of flood damages after the project implementation , the impact on the community could have been much greater if the project had considered the gender aspects related to floods. The study thus reinforces the argument that gender planning is vital for any development activity. In the case of cleaning the Natha ela project, gender was neutral from the planning stage to the implementation stage. The low representation of the women in the decision making process also contributed to the lack of gender sensitivity in the project. Thus the study clearly revealed that although disasters affect both men and women, the impact could be different and therefore mitigation efforts need to addresses such differences to make both men and women resilient to flood disaster.

Keywords: gender, floods, disaster resilience

Topics: Development, Environment, Environmental Disasters, Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Sri Lanka

Year: 2014

The Participation of Women in Peace Processes. The Other Tables


Villellas Ariño, María. 2010. "The Participation of Women in Peace Processes. The Other Tables." Barcelona: Institut Catalá Internacional per la Pau.

Author: María Villellas Ariño


This paper argues that women’s absence in peace processes cannot be explained by their alleged lack of experience in dialogue and negotiation, but by a serious lack of will to include them in such important initiatives of change. Women have wide ranging experience in dialogue processes including many war and post-war contexts, but there has been a deliberate lack of effort to integrate them in formal peace processes. After introducing the research framework, the paper addresses women’s involvement in peace, and analyzes the role played by women in peace processes, through the cases of Sri Lanka and Northern Ireland. The paper concludes that peace processes are as gendered as wars, and for that reason gender has to be a guiding line for including women in peace processes. (Abstract from original)

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Gender Roles, Governance, Post-conflict Governance, Peacebuilding, Peace Processes, Post-Conflict Regions: Asia, South Asia, Europe, Northern Europe Countries: Sri Lanka, United Kingdom

Year: 2010

Mortgaging Women's Lives: Feminist Critiques of Structural Adjustment


Sparr, Pamela, ed. 1994. Mortgaging Women's Lives: Feminist Critiques of Structural Adjustment. London: Zed Books

Author: Pamela Sparr


This book explores the impact on Third World women of the stringent economic prescriptions of the World Bank and IMF. Introductory chapters explain in non-jargonistic terms exactly what structural adjustment is. These are followed by feminist critiques of its implications, and then a series of carefully chosen case studies examining the specific dimensions of structural adjustment in countries as diverse as Jamaica, Ghana, Nigeria, Egypt, Turkey, Sri Lanka and the Philippines (Summary from WorldCat).
Table of Contents:
1. What is structural adjustment?
Pamela Sparr
2. Feminist critiques of structural adjustment
Pamela Sparr
3. Privatization and the demise of state feminism in Egypt
Mervat F. Hatem
4. Ghana: women in the public and informal sectors under the economic recovery programme
Takyiwaa Manuh
5. What has export-oriented manufacturing meant for Turkish women?
Nilüfer Çagatay, Günseli Berik
6. Structural adjustment policies, industrial development and women in Sri Lanka
Swarna Jayaweera
7. The dynamics of economic change and gender roles: export cropping in the Philippines
Maria Sagrario Floro
8. Nigeria: agricultural exports and compensatory schemes -- rural women's production resources and quality of life
Patience Elabor-Idemudia
9. Hitting where it hurts most: Jamaican women's livelihoods in crisis
Joan French
10. Banking on women: where do we go from here?
Pamela Sparr

Topics: Development, Globalization, Privatization Regions: Africa, MENA, West Africa, Americas, Caribbean countries, Asia, Central Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Egypt, Jamaica, Nigeria, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Turkey

Year: 1994

The Gender of Globalization: Women Navigating Cultural and Economics Marginalities


Kingsolver, Ann, and Nandini Gunewardena, eds. 2008. The Gender of Globalization: Women Navigating Cultural and Economics Marginalities. Oxford: School for Advanced Research Press.

Authors: Ann Kingsolver, Nandini Gunewardena


As "globalization" moves rapidly from buzzword to cliche, evaluating the claims of neoliberal capitalism to empower and enrich remains urgently important. The authors in this volume employ feminist, ethnographic methods to examine what free trade and export processing zones, economic liberalization, and currency reform mean to women in Argentina, Sri Lanka, Mexico, Ghana, the United States, India, Jamaica, and many other places (Summary from Jacket).
Table of Contents:
1. Feminist methodology as a tool for ethnographic inquiry on globalization
Faye V. Harrison
2. Disrupting subordination and negotiating belonging : women workers in the transnational production sites of Sri Lanka
Nandini Gunewardena
3. Making hay while the sun shines : Ghanaian female traders and their insertion into the global economy
Akosua K. Darkwah
4. Clothing difference : commodities and consumption in Southeastern Liberia
Mary H. Moran
5. Progressive women, traditional men : globalization, migration, and equality in the northern periphery of the European Union
Ulrika Dahl
6. Neoliberal policy as structural violence : its links to domestic violence in black communities in the United States
William L. Conwill
7. Gendered bodily scars of neoliberal globalization in Argentina
Barbara Sutton
8. Geographies of race and class : the place and placelessness of migrant Filipina domestic workers
Rhacel Salazar Parreñas
9. Sticking to the union : anthropologists and "union maids" in San Francisco
Sandy Smith-Nonini
10. "The Caribbean is on sale" : globalization and women tourist workers in Jamaica
A. Lynn Bolles
11. In the fields of free trade : gender and plurinational en/countering of neoliberal agricultural policies
Ann Kingsolver
12. Globalization, "swadeshi", and women's movements in Orissa, India
Annapurna Pandey
13. Complex negotiations : gender, capitalism, and relations of power
Mary Anglin and Louise Lamphere
14. Navigating paradoxical globalizations
Ann Kingsolver
15. Reconstituting marginality : gendered repression and women's resistance
Nandini Gunewardena.

Topics: Economies, Globalization, Multi-national Corporations, Privatization Regions: Africa, North Africa, West Africa, Americas, Caribbean countries, North America, South America, Asia, South Asia, Europe, Western Europe Countries: Argentina, Ghana, India, Jamaica, Liberia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, United States of America

Year: 2008

Mainstreaming Women into Disaster Reduction in the Built Environment


Ginige, Kanchana, Dilanthi Amaratunga, and Richard Haigh. 2016. “Mainstreaming Women into Disaster Reduction in the Built Environment.” Disaster Prevention & Management 25 (5): 611–27. doi:10.1108/DPM-11-2015-0255.

Authors: Kanchana Ginige, Dilanthi Amaratunga, Richard Haigh


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to introduce a guideline to mainstream women into disaster reduction in the built environment in Sri Lanka. 

Design/methodology/approach: The paper is based on ten in-depth interviews conducted with professionals engaged in disaster risk reduction in the built environment in Sri Lanka. The interviews are complemented by a comprehensive literature review conducted on the impacts of 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami on women in Sri Lanka, and the country’s status of mainstreaming women into disaster reduction in the built environment. 

Findings: The paper presents a guideline for mainstreaming women into disaster reduction in the built environment in Sri Lanka which consists of factors influencing the process, main steps, parties responsible, required resources, required expertise, appropriate stages of development to conduct the process, barriers to the process and how to improve the process. 

Originality/value: At present, there are no guidelines which specifically inform how to mainstream women into disaster reduction in the built environment in Sri Lanka. Such guideline is significant to reduce women’s vulnerability to natural disasters and also to tackle disaster vulnerabilities of the built environment in general.
(Abstract from Emerald Insight)

Keywords: Sri Lanka, natural disasters, women's vulnerability, Built environment

Topics: Environment, Environmental Disasters, Gender, Women, Gender Mainstreaming Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Sri Lanka

Year: 2016

‘To Finish, We Must Finish’: Everyday Practices of Depletion in Sri Lankan Export-Processing Zones


Gunawardana, Samanthi J. 2016. “‘To Finish, We Must Finish’: Everyday Practices of Depletion in Sri Lankan Export-Processing Zones.” Globalizations 13 (6): 861-875.

Author: Samanthi J. Gunawardana


The integrative dynamic between social reproduction (SR) and the market economy is underscored by the everyday experience of what can be termed ‘depletion’ for many women in the Global South. Drawing upon case study material from Sri Lanka, this paper focuses on migration decisions to work in export-processing zones (EPZs) and everyday production processes. It shows how workplaces are sites of depletion. Depletion reproduces the processes of disposability in global factories. Relations of SR are also reproduced in the factory. Affecting body and mind, depletion flourishes in environments without recourse to adequate inputs that maintain well-being including, but not limited to, leisure and rest, adequate wages, freedom of association, adequate nutrition, housing, and job security. In Sri Lanka, migration to EPZs was prompted by a crisis in SR and lack of inflows to sustain the well-being of women and households. Such workplaces are also an everyday day element of the global political economy, enacted upon gendered bodies, fuelling a cycle of gendered harm through the reproduction of disposability. 

Keywords: depletion, export, processing zone, Gendered harm, Sri Lanka, social reproduction

Topics: Civil Society, Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Economies, Economic Inequality, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Hierarchies, Gender Equality/Inequality, Political Economies Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Sri Lanka

Year: 2016

Feminism, Nationalism, and Labour in Post-Civil War Northern Province of Sri Lanka


Sarvananthan, Muttukrishna, Jeyapraba Suresh, and Anushani Alagarajah. 2017. “Feminism, Nationalism, and Labour in Post-Civil War Northern Province of Sri Lanka.” Development in Practice 27 (1): 122–28.

Authors: Muttukrishna Sarvananthan, Jeyapraba Suresh, Anushani Alagarajah


English Abstract:
This viewpoint highlights the paradox of low labour force participation and high unemployment among women at a time of growing educational levels of women in the former conflict-affected Northern Province of Sri Lanka. It highlights the rise of ethno-feminism and sub-nationalism that undermine what few opportunities open up for women in terms of employment and livelihood opportunities, thereby weakening the peacebuilding efforts of various stakeholders.
French Abstract:
Ce point de vue met l’accent sur le paradoxe de la faible participation de la force active et du chômage élevé parmi les femmes, à un moment où les niveaux d’éducation chez les femmes sont de plus en plus élevés dans la province Nord du Sri Lanka, anciennement affectée par la guerre civile. Il souligne l’émergence de l’ethno-féminisme et du sous-nationalisme qui sapent les quelques opportunités offertes aux femmes en matière d’emploi et de moyens d’existence, affaiblissant ainsi les efforts de consolidation de la paix de divers intervenants.
Spanish Abstract:
Este punto de vista resalta la paradoja resultante de la baja inserción de mujeres en la fuerza laboral y el alto desempleo femenino en un momento en que se ha elevado el nivel de escolaridad de las mismas en la Provincia Norte de Sri Lanka, anteriormente afectada por el conflicto. En este sentido, el artículo destaca el surgimiento del etnofeminismo y el subnacionalismo, que socavan las pocas oportunidades que se van dando para las mujeres en términos de empleo y de medios de vida, debilitando de esta forma los esfuerzos que varios actores realizan para construir la paz.

Keywords: South Asia, Labour and livelihoods, Gender and Diversity, Conflict and Reconstruction, Aid-Development policies

Topics: Ethnicity, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Livelihoods, Nationalism, Peacebuilding, Post-Conflict Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Sri Lanka

Year: 2017

Gender and Health Issues in the Biomass Energy Cycle: Impediments to Sustainable Development


Wickramasinghe, Anoja. 2003. “Gender and Health Issues in the Biomass Energy Cycle: Impediments to Sustainable Development.” Energy for Sustainable Development 7 (3): 51–61.

Author: Anoja Wickramasinghe


Biomass-based energy generation is at the heart of rural life, food and nutrition in particular. Sri Lanka relies heavily on biomass for energy generation in the domestic sector, in which nearly 8 million tonnes (Mt) of biomass is consumed annually. The household sector has been able to optimize its biomass use, without intervention by the state, through the involvement of women. The role of women has been taken for granted in relation to their traditional gender role, by which socially accepted and culturally sensitive imbalances have been established. Health issues pervade the biomass cycle from the stage of biomass-gathering to its end-use. Women, who link the outdoor biomass resource environment with domestic consumption, initiate the cycle and traverse it repeatedly. This study focuses on the physical exhaustion, psychological deterioration, and ill-health generated by the cycle, as reported by participants in the study. The self-perceived problems are taken as testimonies of the multiple health implications of the biomass cycle. Women in the cycle enhance the consumption value of biomass by integrating it into human well-being, and food and nutritional security. Men's labour appears in the form of a helping hand on occasionally performed tasks. The gender differentiation of activities and their health repercussions gives rise to the need for a wider debate on social justice for women's health, their rights over resources, and also occupational and workplace security. The predominant imbalances in the biomass cycle are nurtured by the conceptualization of biomass as a “free commodity”, “women's work”, and the “gender” ideology. The health risks and the self-reported ailments are disproportionately distributed and the repercussions suffered by women in their effort of ensuring household energy security are serious. Problems that women deal with in the outdoor sphere during procuring and transporting are specific to their occupations in this cycle and their gender. It is clear that these issues confront both the concepts of sustainability and social justice. This paper is organized with the intention of discussing conceptual issues and disseminating the findings of research conducted in Sri Lanka. Data presented in this paper were gathered through a questionnaire-based survey administered to 720 households and through field discussions, observations and ethnographic records. Reference to the spatial location is omitted so as to avoid lengthy discussions on ecological aspects.

Topics: Gender, Women, Men, Gender Roles, Health, Households, Infrastructure, Energy Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Sri Lanka

Year: 2003


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