The gendered destruction and reconstruction of assets and the transformative potential of ‘disasters’
Introduction This chapter explores the transformative potential of ‘disasters’ through examination of the differential gendered destruction and reconstruction of assets through individual, collective and external strategies. Who provides assets and the use, access and control over them is gendered. The services assets provide may influence individual and community well-being and the development of more gender-transformative and just societies. The chapter examines the extent to which extreme weather events can lead to the reconstruction of more genderequitable societies and just cities. It addresses a number of questions: is there a gendered impact to disaster asset destruction including loss of life? Is the erosion and destruction of assets gendered? How do women and men rebuild their asset base? What is the role of institutions and outside agencies and the gendered impact of asset accumulation and reconstruction? How does the destruction and reconstruction of assets impact on gender perceptions of improved well-being? What does this mean for gender transformative relations? The chapter draws on two evidence bases from post Hurricane Mitch, Nicaragua: (1) an in-depth local community study that separately interviewed both women and men in the same household; and (2) a large-scale national-level household survey – the Social Audit.