A call to action on gender and humanitarian reform

When conflict or natural disasters strike, the impact of the crisis on men and boys, women and girls is shaped in specific and different ways by their gender.

For example, women of reproductive age comprise a quarter of the people who are refugees or internally displaced as a result of war, famine and natural disaster. One in five is likely to be pregnant. Yet all too often frontline humanitarian staff are not trained or equipped to address their specific needs. Studies also indicate that men and boys are exposed to specific forms of violence and vulnerability which are often little understood or addressed by emergency response efforts. Fresh statistics drawn from the UN’s financial tracking system for humanitarian funding also indicate how little we know about whether aid effectively addresses gender and violence against women and girls, or not. To more effectively address humanitarian needs, we need to fix these gaps and weaknesses in our response.

CARE International believes that the Call to Action on Violence Against Women and Girls in Emergencies offers an important platform to promote more effective global approaches to gender-based violence and gender equity in emergencies. The process has already brought together donors, NGOs and UN agencies on these issues at a senior level in an unprecedented fashion. To maximise this potential, we need to agree ways forward which broaden the list of stakeholders endorsing the Call to Action communiqué and translate the commitments into action at all levels. As states and multilateral organisations prepare for the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience (2015) and the World Humanitarian Summit (2016), the Call to Action should put gender at the heart of wider reforms to the humanitarian system. This paper outlines practical recommendations on how to make this happen.

Link to Member Resource