The EU welcomes the focus of today’s discussion.
Gender matters in humanitarian assistance because women, girls, boys and men are affected by crises in different ways. They have differentiated needs, different vulnerabilities, face particular risks, do not necessarily have access to the same resources and services etc.. Humanitarian crisis often imply an additional burden for those responsible for caring for their families, often increasing the number of female-headed households and adding responsibilities for children, especially adolescent girls, to take care of their younger siblings.
Unfortunately, preexistig gender inequalities repeatedly make women and girls more susceptible to further discrimination and violence. Sexual and gender-based violence, including harmful practices such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation, remains underreported and under-addressed as an issue in humanitarian crisis. This makes the provision of life-saving responses extremely difficult and leaves such violence largely invisible, thus impeding accountability and access to remedies.
Effective and sustainable solutions can only be found through a long-term commitment to addressing the root causes - inequality, discrimination and impunity. For the EU accountability entails strengthening the capacity to save lives and alleviate suffering in a manner that upholds individual dignity and human rights.
It is imperative that we introduce a gender lense when planning and setting up different programmes as this heavily impacts the aid given on the ground. This is a responsibility of ALL humanitarian actors, not only those specialised in working on protection or gender equality. The EU has relevant policies in place for this, but we also work with our own Gender-Age Marker to ensure proper monitoring and accountability. Minimum protection strategies and mitigation of potential negative impacts ensure that women and girls are protected from existing risks, are not put at risk by the humanitarian operation and have safe access to humanitarian aid.
How we can create stronger support systems for women and girls to speak up and report the discrimination and violence in humanitarian context?