The Role of Gender in Humanitarian Protection and Response

Release Date: 
Thursday, December 18, 2014

If the audio player above does not load, you can listen to the podcast here.

What role does gender play in humanitarian crises? How could a gendered lens improve humanitarian practitioners’ approaches to designing and implementing assistance and protection programs in complex environments?

A gendered perspective of humanitarian protection focuses on analyzing the impact of gender on vulnerabilities in conflict settings. Women and men experience different forms of violence and resulting needs, and different constraints on their access to resources and services. While men are more likely to die during conflict, for example, women are more likely to die after a conflict has officially ended, or to suffer from an increase in sexual and gender-based violence in wartime. Disruptions to families and communities caused by conflict or displacement may also exacerbate preexisting gender inequalities, or redefine gendered roles in society. An understanding of these dynamics is crucial to the implementation of gender-sensitive humanitarian responses.

Through conversations with experts and practitioners, this podcast will explore the gendered nature of conflict and the implications for humanitarian protection and response. Expert panelists will discuss the role of gender-specific programming in the context of humanitarian protection, drawing lessons from the case of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Additionally, the podcast will address how to target humanitarian programming to the differing needs women and men, and how gender affects security and access for humanitarian practitioners.

Key questions for discussion include:

  •  What does gender mean in the context of humanitarian protection, and what role does it play in humanitarian crises?
  • How do the vulnerabilities and protection of women, men, girls, and boys differ in humanitarian settings, and how can humanitarians best respond to these differences?
  • How does gender affect access and security for humanitarian practitioners?

Expert Commentators:

  • Blerta Aliko - Humanitarian and Gender Advisor, UN Women
  • Gary Barker - International Director, Promundo; Co-Chair, MenEngage Alliance
  • Luisa Cremonese - Regional Coordinator, Southern Colombia, UNDP
  • Jocelyn Kelly - Director, Women in War Program, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative
  • Dyan Mazurana - Research Director for Gender, Youth, and Community, Feinstein International Center; Associate Research Professor, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University
  • Danielle Spencer - Senior Humanitarian Advisor for Gender & Protection, CARE International UK


Special Extended Interviews

The ATHA team recorded almost two hours of conversation with this episode's expert commentators -- to much to include in just one episode. However, these conversations were so rich and interesting that we wanted to make it available to anyone who might want to delve a little deeper into these issues. So we’re making the full, extended conversations available right here:

Listen to the extended version of our conversation with Jocelyn Kelly of the Women in War Program, Dyan Mazurana of the Feinstein International Center, and Gary Barker of Promundo:

Listen to the extended version of our conversation with Blerta Aliko of UN Women, Danielle Spencer of CARE International, and Luisa Cremonese of UNDP:

If the audio player above does not load, you can listen to the podcast here, and the extended interviews here and here.

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