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  • On the frontline: Catalysing women's leadership in humanitarian action
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On the frontline: Catalysing women's leadership in humanitarian action

Source(s):  ActionAid International (ActionAid)

This paper explores the realities of women affected by humanitarian crises and highlights their priorities. The report brings together findings from focus group discussions with women from multiple regions and draws upon ActionAid’s experience from a range of humanitarian contexts, including rapid and slow onset disasters and protracted crisis. It presents the barriers and opportunities for women’s leadership in humanitarian response and resilience building as identified by women from Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Nepal, occupied Palestinian territory (Gaza), the Philippines and Vanuatu. This data is overlayed with available evidence to validate the findings and demonstrate their applicability across diverse contexts.

There are a number of opportunities to build on women’s existing skills, capacities and leadership in times of crisis and beyond to transform women’s status in society. Key strategies identified through the research include:

  • investing in women’s leadership in emergency preparedness and resilience building;
  • utilising women’s unique skills and knowledge in humanitarian response;
  • supporting women’s mobilising and organising efforts;
  • increasing women’s access to resources through targeted economic empowerment programming;
  • improving collection of gender disaggregated data;
  • distributing resources directly to women and their organisations;
  • and raising awareness of women’s rights in communities. 



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  • On the frontline: Catalysing women's leadership in humanitarian action
  • Publication date 2016
  • Number of pages 39 p.

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