A woman humanitarian aid worker in Cameroon. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown

A woman humanitarian aid worker in Cameroon. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown

An unprecedented number of people are living through humanitarian crises today. Armed conflict, natural disaster, disease and violent persecution have forced more than 70 million people from their homes.

While women and girls are often severely impacted by crises, they are also leaders in recovery and resilience. This year, World Humanitarian Day (19 August) is honouring the women humanitarian workers who work on the front lines in their communities to help people in need.

There are more than half a million humanitarian workers on the front lines of war and disaster around the world, about 40 per cent of them are women, many of whom work in some of the most dangerous corners of the globe. Women are often the first to respond in crises, and the last to leave. And their efforts play a key role in the survival and resilience of families and communities.

On World Humanitarian Day, share the stories of amazing women who scale impossible challenges every day in humanitarian settings, striving for a safer and better future for all.

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Nimarta Khuman, a Gender and Protection Advisor. Photo: UN Women/Trisha Toangwera

“Addressing gender and protection issues in humanitarian action is lifesaving and planning and budgeting needs to reflect that”

Madina Mousa, Syrian refugee and Protection Supervisor at the Women’s Empowerment Organization (WEO) in Iraq. Photo: UN Women/ Said Elmobasher

“I could not stay idle in the face of hardship”

Colombia has welcomed migrants from Venezuela with support programmes, border mobility cards and a special work permit that has allowed thousands of migrants to stay and work legally in Colombia. Photo: UN Women

Ensuring public services for Venezuelan migrant women


Gender equality is essential to humanitarian action. On this World Humanitarian Day, UN Women salutes the women humanitarians around the globe who have acted as first responders in the darkest hours of crisis.

In Brazil, UN Women helps Venezuelan women living as migrants, asylum seekers and refugees to get back on their feet with psychosocial support, emergency cash assistance, and safe spaces.


1 in 5 refugees or displaced women in complex humanitarian settings are estimated to have experienced sexual violence – likely an underestimation given the barriers associated with disclosure. 60% of preventable maternal deaths take place in settings of conflict, displacement and natural disasters. Girls are 2.5 times more likely to be out of school in conflict-affected countries than their counterparts in conflict-free countries.

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Every disaster affects women. Every response must include women.

Help us spread the word using #WorldHumanitarianDay and #WomenHumanitarians (English), #TrabajadorasHumanitarias (Spanish), and #FemmesHumanitaires (French).

A social media package with graphics and suggested messages in multiple languages can be found here.