Building back better? Rethinking gender and recovery in the time of COVID-19

Kaira Zoe Alburo-Canete*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
32 Downloads (Pure)


Amid growing concerns regarding how the COVID-19 crisis is derailing the important gains made in advancing gender equality and women empowerment over the years, calls to integrate gender perspectives in ‘building back better’ from the pandemic have been heightened (Azcona et al., 2021; OHCHR, 2021). These calls are not new but have been a staple of discourses around recovery and reconstruction across different contexts marked by disaster, conflict and other forms of crises. Popularised by former US President Bill Clinton in his capacity as UN Special Envoy for Tsunami Recovery, ‘build back better’ has since been a normative principle adopted by the international humanitarian community (Clinton, 2006). It denotes creating a new state of normalcy: that is, rebuilding is no longer thought of as bouncing back but bouncing forward to a new and improved state. What a ‘better’ transformation looks like is of course a matter of interpretation and is highly contentious. In this article, I focus on how gender figures in imaginations of building a ‘better’ post-pandemic future. To do so, I draw on insights from previous research on women’s experiences of post-disaster reconstruction in the Philippines after typhoon Haiyan and highlight opportunities and challenges in achieving the transformation desired in attempts to rebuild from the pandemic, focussing on the notion of care.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)180-183
Number of pages4
JournalGlobal Social Policy
Issue number1
Early online date8 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022

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