The South Asia Women's Resilience Index

The The South Asia Women’s Resilience Index produced by ActionAid Australia, in partnership with The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) and the Australian Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade, assesses countries’ capacity for risk reduction in disaster and recovery, and the extent to which women are considered in the national rebuilding efforts.


The Index looks at the disaster-preparedness of eight countries in the South Asia region: Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, India, Japan, the Maldives, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. It specifically focuses on the degree to which women’s needs have been incorporated and the extent to which these countries are prepared for disasters – and finds that each of these countries, Japan aside, fares poorly in this regard.

The Findings

  • Six of eight countries included in new EIU South Asia Women’s Resilience Index (WRI) score in range between 40 and 46.4 out of 100. (Japan, included as a developed-country benchmark, scores 80.6.)
  • Pakistan fares worse—scoring 27.8—owing to higher economic, social and institutional barriers to women’s participation in disaster risk reduction (DRR) and resilience-building
  • WRI shows need to empower women economically, improve monitoring of gender-specific DRR targets, and tackle high levels of violence against women in South Asia

The Advocacy

ActionAid is urging policy makers and world leaders to take stock of this new research that indicates that unless investments are made in women economically and socially, the impact of increasing disasters in the South Asia region will be catastrophic for communities.

Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) efforts are saving lives and reducing the death tolls, however more people are being affected by these crises’ and economic losses are rising. Gender inequality also means women bear the majority of the impact.  The research finds that economic and sociological barriers to women’s empowerment are key reasons that women’s resilience in emergencies is not included in disaster risk reduction and recovery.

Bangladesh Toolkit

ActionAid Bangladesh has been supporting Bangladeshi women to devise an action plan to build women’s resilience by providing them with the knowledge and information needed to transform gender inequalities and become leaders in disaster preparedness within their communities. Find out how they are using the WRI to inform decisions and download the WRI Bangladesh Toolkit.

Interactive Tool

Women's Resilience Index Interactive Tool

Grassroots Toolkit

The Grassroots Toolkit is a gender sensitive toolkit for practitioners to measure and compare women’s and men’s resilience to disaster risks at local levels.

Download the Toolkit


The South Asia Women's Resilience Index

Click below to read the report.

Women's Resilience Index


Find out more about our work with women in emergencies

ActionAid supports women on the frontlines of conflict and disaster from the Horn of Africa to Bangladesh to take the lead in humanitarian response. We’re training women to be decision makers at all levels of humanitarian action and we’re supporting women-led humanitarian innovation and protection efforts.
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