When crisis occurs, people’s lives change in an instant. Death, injury, displacement, and the destruction of infrastructure and institutions impact entire communities as a result.

Crises impact women, girls, boys and men of all ages differently. As a result, their needs and interests differ, as do their resources, capacities and coping strategies. Women are often the first responders to a crisis, and they play a central role in the survival and resilience of families and communities.

Women and girls are not helpless victims. Humanitarian efforts must recognise the fact that women and girls—like men and boys—have much to contribute in preparing for, and responding to, crises. Women must be included in decision-making about the forms of assistance and protection they need. Humanitarian action can also present opportunities for new and more progressive gender roles and relationships to emerge.

UN Women’s Approach

UN Women is committed to ensuring equality between women and men as partners and beneficiaries of humanitarian action. Our work in humanitarian action is guided by global norms and standards and is set out in the UN Women Humanitarian Strategy 2014–2017.

UN Women works proactively with humanitarian actors to ensure their emergency response plans adequately integrate gender equality and women’s empowerment; that women and girls are equally consulted to understand and address their needs and vulnerabilities; that women’s leadership is leveraged; that gender is integrated into humanitarian assessments, reporting and monitoring tools; and that gender experts are included in the humanitarian teams responding to the crisis.

Click here to read more about UN Women’s approach to humanitarian action.