Access to services
Women’s access to gender-targeted and gender-mainstreamed services are often overlooked before, during, and after disasters.
Durable solutions are needed to ensure locally appropriate and accessible gender-mainstreamed services (including employment, health, legal, education, social protection, psychosocial, energy, water and sanitation services) and gender-targeted services (e.g. sexual and reproductive health, and maternal health services). For example, the COVID-19 “shadow pandemic” for women and girls has highlighted the need to make women’s health and gender-based violence a priority in prevention, preparedness, early action/anticipatory action, response, and recovery planning through collective efforts across stakeholders.
Importantly, there is considerable empirical research on the impact of disasters and threats on mental health and psychosocial well-being. However, mental health research and well-being services are often absent across many regions, including small island developing states. Moreover, there are numerous gaps in understanding, for example, the psychosocial impacts of disaster displacement or community relocation on women and girls. As a result, the availability of mental health and psychosocial support services (including networks, guidelines, training) in many local settings is limited.