Helping Girls and Women Before a Disaster Strikes

Girls' Globe

On July 11th, we recognize World Population Day – a day to focus attention on the urgency and importance of population issues. This year’s theme, Vulnerable Populations in Emergencies, is one of critical importance as the rights of girls and women are affected most in emergency settings. Take a disaster triggered by climate change as an example. After the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, a household survey from Oxfam in Aceh, Indonesia, found that up to four women died for every male in the most affected areas. In some villages, all of the deceased were women. Why? In Aceh, girls and women often not encouraged or taught to swim or climb trees. They also spend majority of time in the home caring for children – homes vulnerably positioned near the shoreline.

Girls and women are also more susceptible to gender-based violence in emergency settings where feelings of stress and powerless can lead increased…

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