A disaster or emergency situation affects women, men, girls, and boys differently. These differences must be considered when planning and implementing reproductive health services in humanitarian settings. The World Health Organization (WHO) outlines a number of gender considerations in disaster assessment. For example, how do the gender norms in a particular community affect assistance-seeking behavior or access to aid? Are there particular vulnerabilities for women, men, or children that result from the crisis? To address these and other considerations, WHO recommends the following principles of good practice:

  • Involve women in all stages of decision making. Make sure that information about the needs of the family or community is obtained from men and women.
  • Collect data disaggregated by sex, and use this data for program planning and for documentation of short- and long-term effects.
  • Identify and provide for sex-specific needs.
  • Consider and assess the impact of all response activities on men and women.
  • Pay special attention to those who might experience some social exclusion (widows, female heads of household, disabled women).
  • Include women as distributors to ensure they can access supplies without being placed at increased risk of injury or abuse.

The resources in this section of the Toolkit explore the different needs of men, women, girls, and boys in humanitarian settings and provide guidance on how to effectively address these needs so that all members of the affected population can access the reproductive health information and care they need to stay safe and healthy.

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