UN Women says Pacific women are often painted as victims first and decision makers second in the aftermath of disasters.
Aleta Miller of the UN Women's Fiji office says women are more affected than men in the aftermath and should be included in disaster management planning.
But she said aid agencies often cast women as victims first and risk ignoring what is truly needed.
"Women's groups are saying to me and to those that are listening, very strongly, 'we aren't just vulnerable' or 'we aren't vulnerable, or we don't want you to portray us as a vulnerable group, there are vulnerabilities, [and] vulnerabilities can be exacerbated but women and other groups are strong, they're resilient'."
Ms Miller said UN Women has been training governments, civil societies and NGOs on planning appropriately for genders in the event of a disaster.