Working Gender after Crisis: Partnerships and Disconnections in Sri Lanka after the Indian Ocean Tsunami


Attanapola, Chamila T., Cathrine Brun, and Ragnhild Lund. 2013. “Working Gender after Crisis: Partnerships and Disconnections in Sri Lanka after the Indian Ocean Tsunami.” Gender, Place & Culture 20 (1): 70–86.

Authors: Chamila T. Attanapola, Cathrine Brun, Ragnhild Lund


This article focuses on how northern non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and their partners, community-based organizations (CBOs), are ‘working’ gender after a crisis. It explores the relationship between one NGO aiming to mainstream gender and a women's CBO in a village in southern Sri Lanka after the 2004 tsunami. The gender policies of the NGO and how the CBO has co-opted these policies are analysed in terms of discourse, interdependence, power and performance. Structural and individual challenges for working gender in post-crisis situations are analyzed and the constraints for making deep reaching changes that can alter gender relations are identified. Because of differences in the conceptualization and implementation of gender policies and practices, the CBO has manoeuvred to maintain its own interests, while the NGO has experienced disconnections in working gender between organizational levels and locations of implementation. In conclusion, it is argued that for changes to take place, knowledge production on gender needs to be locally situated and sensitive to the structural conditions and power relations with which organizations and communities engage.

Keywords: working gender, mainstreaming, partnerships, non-governmental organizations, Sri Lanka

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

Year: 2013

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