BRIDGE Report 33: Gender, Emergencies and Humanitarian Assistance

Author: S. Baden, B. Byrne
Publisher: Institute of Development Studies UK
Publication Date: Nov 1995
How can emergency relief and humanitarian assistance be more gender-sensitive? This report argues that emergency and humanitarian assistance tends to be gender-blind, responding to women's needs solely as victims and mothers, without accounting for changes in gender relations that arise out of crises. Gender differences and inequalities affect how individuals and communities respond to crisis and the range of options available to cope with a situation. The report highlights that women tend to have less access to and control over resources than men, less influence in decision-making and greater restrictions on their behaviour, all reducing their options during crises. As well, women are particularly vulnerable to attack and domestic and sexual violence during times of crisis. It is recommended that maximum effort be made to use gender analysis right from the beginning of a relief programme. The report also recommends the inclusion and representation of women from the start and throughout the consultation process, through, for example, the employment of female field officers and establishment of women's groups; and a focus on security issues in the design of camps, in order to minimise the threats that face