Hemachandra, Dias Weligamage Kinkini (2022) A FRAMEWORK FOR EMPOWERING WOMEN IN DISASTER RISK GOVERNANCE IN SRI LANKA. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

Disasters have disproportionately affected women and girls globally. Limited representation of women in disaster risk reduction related decision-making is one of the main reasons for their high vulnerability. In this background, women’s empowerment could create opportunities to represent in decision-making. Especially through empowering women in disaster risk governance could provide opportunities to represent women in disaster risk reduction related decision-making. Nevertheless, no systematic studies are available explaining how to empower women in disaster risk governance. Hence, this study was conducted to propose a framework for empowering women in disaster risk governance. The study was carried out in Sri Lanka within the disaster preparedness system. The high disaster profile and the lower level of women’s empowerment were the reasons for conducting the study in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka has been faced multiple hazards over the period and predicted an increasing trend of future hazards. Furthermore, the present women's representation in decision-making positions, including the parliament, judicial institutions, public and private sector organisations, is significantly low compared to the regional and global level. A detailed literature review was conducted around the main concepts and/or theories related to hazards, disasters, women’s empowerment, disaster risk governance, and disaster preparedness. After following a systematic and methodological selection process, the study was conducted within the Sri Lankan disaster preparedness system. Accordingly, the study conducted three case studies in selected districts representing their disaster preparedness systems. The research conducted case study interviews using a semi-structured interview guideline. In addition, several expert interviews were conducted for better triangulation of results. The study collected its data at the cross-sectional level and carried out a qualitative analysis in delivering study objectives.

Accordingly, the study reveals the importance of women’s empowerment in disaster risk governance within the disaster preparedness system in Sri Lanka across case studies and expert opinions. The study also revealed the minimum level of women’s empowerment in disaster risk governance within the Sri Lankan disaster preparedness system. Accordingly, the research identified six categories of challenges affecting women’s empowerment in disaster risk governance: individual, organisational, socio-cultural, legal and policy, political and job-specific thematic areas. After matching the challenges with the suggestions made by the interviewees, the study proposed four types of interventions to achieve women’s empowerment in disaster risk governance. The four interventions are: individual, community, institutional and legislative interventions. The framework was further improved and validated by conducting a focus group discussion. Accordingly, the interventions were further identfied as primary and secondary interventions under each category for effective implementations. Accordingly, the study findings contribute to the theory, practice and policy through this validated framework. Finally, the study contributes broadly in delivering the fifth goal of the Sustainable Development Goals and the second and fourth priorities of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

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