In Double Jeapardy: Adolescent Girls and Disasters

Plan’s 2013 State of the World’s Girls report looks at what happens to adolescent girls when disaster strikes around the world, and why.

Report findings show that when disaster strikes, girls are discriminated against when they are at their most vulnerable. Adolescent girls have particular needs for protection, healthcare and education that are not being met, and are largely overlooked by governments and the humanitarian community.

Findings also reveal that during emergencies:

  • Girls are given less food when it is scarce
  • Girls are less likely to be rescued than boys
  • Boys generally received preferential treatment over girls in rescue efforts
  • Girls are more likely to be pulled out of school and less likely to return
  • Disasters and emergencies increase the likelihood of girls being forced into child marriage, domestic work or sexual abuse.

The 2013 report says donors, governments, decision-makers and the humanitarian community must start listening to what girls have to say in order to understand their different needs in emergencies, and to empower them to play a role in planning and preparing for, and enduring disasters.

Further recommendations include:

  • Consult adolescent girls in all stages of disaster preparedness and response.
  • Train and mobilize more women to work in emergency response teams.
  • Provide services that target adolescent girls in the areas of education, protection and sexual and reproductive health.
  • Ensure funding for protection against gender-based violence in the first stages of emergency response.
  • Collecting separate data for boys and girls, men and women to show the specific needs of adolescent girls in emergencies and to inform program planning.