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The Gender Handbook for Humanitarian Action

This Handbook usefully stresses that ensuring that all people affected by crisis are reached with a needs and capacities-adapted response is a matter of quality and effective programming, and is no longer a negotiable requirement for humanitarian actors. Integrating gender considerations into humanitarian programming contributes to enhancing access to assistance. By fostering meaningful participation of women, girls, men and boys, we can design our responses better. Affording protection to all groups in vulnerable situations must be a cornerstone of our efforts. We all need to do more to prevent and mitigate protection risks and ensure that adequate responses are provided. I hope that this Handbook will become an international resource that contributes to this work.
 
This handbook sets out the rationale for integrating gender equality into humanitarian action and provides practical guidance for doing so across sectors. The main objective is to support humanitarian actors in reaching all people affected by crisis by:

  1. Ensuring that the specific needs, capacities and priorities of women, girls, men and boys are identified and that assistance targets the persons and groups most in need;
  2. Informing women, girls, men and boys of their entitlements and available resources and engaging their participation and women’s leadership in programme design; and
  3. Monitoring and evaluating the impact of our programmes and strategies on those we assist, including identifying and dismantling barriers and discrimination, including by promoting and enabling women’s leadership at the community level and in other decision-making processes.

The handbook is divided into the following three sections:
PART A explains the basics of gender and why the integration of gender equality and women’s empowerment is essential to effective, participatory and equitable humanitarian protection and assistance.
PART B explains how to integrate gender into the different phases of a programme cycle, using the United Nations-led humanitarian coordination process — the Humanitarian Programme Cycle (HPC) — as the working example.
PART C provides specific guidance in 11 sectors: cash-based programming; camp coordination and camp management; early recovery; education; food security; health; livelihoods; nutrition; protection; shelter; and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). This section sets out the key ways in which gender affects the outcomes of specific sectors and can be integrated across the HPC. The handbook provides practical guidance on developing sector-specific solutions using gender analysis. Given the importance of cross-sectoral coordination, where possible sector actors should review the content of all relevant sections and not just those that apply directly to their sphere of operations.
 
This Gender Handbook for Humanitarian Action draws upon many tools, guidance documents and other resources developed by the United Nations, national and international NGOs and academic sources. Each sectoral chapter features a list of resources specific to that area of concern.

Research in Gender Equality

The Action Plan recognized that women’s perspectives had a special priority. At the time, it was more or less evident that researchers engaged in women’s studies were female and that women could bring new perspectives to research. Today the situation is different. Gender researchers, the research councils and politicians all face new challenges as a consequence of the changes that have taken place since the 1980s in relation to both gender and equality issues, as well as in university policies.
 
Gender research is often taken for granted by university authorities, research councils and politicians. Yet since the days of the Action Plan Denmark has lagged behind the other Nordic countries and the EU when it comes to serious and dedicated support and initiatives. Existing resources and positions, institutions and journals need to be strengthened and improved, for example, in the form of the consistent and radical gender mainstreaming of research programs, ventures and recruitment, as well as in the creation of a new strategic research program for gender and equality research.
 
In this publication, Danish gender researchers describe the central and most critical questions in their respective fields. Spread over 28 research themes, the publication is intended as an introduction for students with an interest in the field and as a handbook for journalists, as well as to provide politicians with short introductions to certain themes and to offer researchers an introduction to fields outside of their own specific areas of interest. The publication demonstrates that gender research in the 21st century is still alive and kicking, able to provide relevant, critical and cross disciplinary knowledge and perspectives on social challenges. We hope you enjoy reading it!
 
The journal welcomes articles from both established researchers and PhD students, as well as occasionally from MA students. Since 2010, the journal has published one English-language issue each year, as its aim is to further the internationalization of Danish gender research. The editorial board of Women, Gender & Research consists of an interdisciplinary group of researchers based at different Danish and Nordic Universities. The aim of Women, Gender & Research is to continue to contribute to raising the quality of Danish gender research.

Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Strategy

This strategy lays the groundwork for that aspiration, by identifying how our guiding principles should be reflected in our programmatic approach and activities, as well as in our day-to-day office work and internal policy and practice. As such, this strategy spans both our organizational functions and our project management cycle. In both arenas, we aim to undertake actions that transform relationships of power to create a world where everyone can communicate freely and have a voice in their future, where freedom of expression and access to information are enjoyed by all.
 
This strategy outlines our framework — a set of meaningful objectives which will shape the way we plan, design, implement, monitor and learn from our work. It is complimented by an ambitious action plan, which maps out specific and targeted activities to operationalize this strategy, with timeframes, indicators and responsibilities.
 
This strategy and the associated objectives and action plan were developed as an outgrowth of Internews’ five-year Women’s Initiative, “Women’s Voices, Powering Change” (https://women. internews.org). It has also been informed by foundational work done with the assistance of a grant from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). That grant focused on an external gender equality review of a multi-country program overseen by a UK-based program team, as well as initial work to develop an organisationally coherent gender and/or inclusion policy.

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