Vanuatu is the world’s most at risk country to natural disasters and of concern, women and girls are the most affected. Reflecting on this year’s International Women’s Day celebrations, the Department of Women’s Affairs acknowledges the leadership and resilience of all women and girls with a focus on those who have experienced emergency and recovery.
As highlighted in the National Gender Equality Policy (NGEP) 2015 – 2019, women’s empowerment is a vital step in achieving gender equality as it leads to ensuring that women and men are equal partners in the development and growth of Vanuatu.
However, women’s empowerment in Vanuatu is affected by barriers including high rates of violence committed by men against women and girls, marginalization of women from decision making and leadership at all levels; and lack of access and control over finance and land. These barriers have been identified during mass disasters including Tropical Cyclone Pam and the Ambae Lobenben volcanic eruption and also exist in development settings.