Fewer women in quake rebuilding work says survey

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Mar 10, 2018-

Women’s participation in post-earthquake recovery works is limited compared to their male counterparts, according to a survey conducted by the Inter-Agency Common Feedback Project (CFP), under the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office (RCO).

The bi-monthly survey, conducted among 2,100 respondents in 14 earthquake affected districts, found while 82 percent male have access to information on housing reconstruction process, the number of women with similar information is 70 percent, meaning reconstruction information is not equally accessible to all. 

The number of women with access to information about reconstruction procedures went up from 56 percent to 70 percent between January and November last year. 

The survey also found that only 54 percent women have knowledge about government’s first tranche of housing grant and the number goes down about their understanding of subsequent procedures. 

Only eight percent of women participants said that they knew the final tranche of the housing grant is distributed after roof beams are constructed. 

The survey showed that the highest 40 percent of women receive information about reconstruction from the community members. 

 According to Siobhan Kennedy, recovery advisor with Housing Recovery and Reconstruction Platform (HRRP) Nepal, several factors including lack of information indicate women are not fully engaged in the reconstruction works.

“Women are not being effectively engaged in reconstruction. There are different factors but biggest problem is that they do not have the access to information in the same way the men do,” said Kennedy.

“The post-earthquake reconstruction involves lots of complex processes, ideas and concepts. And if they do not have access to required information, they cannot be effectively participating in the process. Such information-deficient situation for women is resulting in exclusion and lack of engagement for them.”  

An event was organised on Friday to discuss the existing gender gap in the post-earthquake reconstruction works, where the participants stressed on building an environment for greater women involvement to expedite the rebuilding works. 

“While disaster does not discriminate anyone, it affects vulnerable communities like women more. Therefore, integration of gender equality and social inclusion (GESI) should be prioritised in reconstruction and recovery efforts,” said Sama Shrestha, representative of UN Women. 

She suggested that the government’s policies should be reviewed with the GESI perspective.

The event participants also pointed out that reconstruction should be utilised as an opportunity for empowering women and other vulnerable communities. 

 “It is an opportunity to make some progress to show that women are as strong as women if not stronger than men. They need to be involved engaged in reconstruction and have to be seen as the agents of recovery. In order to do so, they need support and capacity to do it,” added Kennedy. 

Sharing outcomes of another study conducted by HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation Nepal, its GESI officer Kriti Bhuju recommended that government should encourage agencies to include women in the skills training, enhance their employability, include provision in policies of National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) to recruit skilled women in reconstruction and decrease the pay gap among men and women workers. 

NRA Joint Secretary Netra Subedi said a separate section of GESI was already set up within the NRA organisation to address the problem related to exclusion of women and other marginalised groups from reconstruction activities and to get more women involved in the reconstruction process.  

Published: 10-03-2018 07:09

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