We must listen to women and girls if we want an effective humanitarian response.

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September 11, 2019
Mendy Marsh, Co-founder and Executive Director

Women and girls are more vulnerable in emergencies

Crimes of sexual violence and exploitation are being perpetrated against women and girls caught in some of the world’s worst conflicts and crises.

Gender and gender discrimination mean that 1 in every 3 women will experience violence in their lifetime. In emergencies this vulnerability is exacerbated by the disintegration of community protections and norms.

It is staggering to think that in South Sudan nearly 65% of women have been subjected to physical or sexual violence.

Humanitarian system is broken

The humanitarian system is failing to fund an end to violence against women and girls, leaving millions already living on the margins of survival at further risk.

In emergencies millions of women and girls caught up in the crisis are not having their needs met, as little as an estimated average of under $2 per person is spent on tackling violence against women and girls.

Violence against women remains a critically underfunded area of humanitarian response. Obtaining funding for violence against women and girls and being clear about how this is spent is critical to providing help to women and girls.

A staggering 1 in 5 refugee or displaced women have experienced sexual violence and yet a woeful 0.12% of humanitarian funding can be tracked to programs that tackle violence against women and girls.

This lack of funding for violence against women and girls drives negative results for other humanitarian and development outcomes.

The VOICE of women and girls tells us what works

We know that safe spaces, specialist expertise and services, local partners and women’s rights organizations are all critical in reducing violence against women and girls in crises.

Funding is important to ensure effective needs assessments take place that listen and understand the rights and needs of women and girls in emergencies.

The sector needs more specialists and experts that recognise and prioritise women’s and girls’ specific needs. Supporting women and girls to define and lead local solutions will have lasting impacts.

VOICE believes the current humanitarian system is broken and must be fixed so that girls and women get the help they truly need.

VOICE is dedicated to enabling conflict or crisis responses to be designed and led by the women and girls they serve.

Read more about these recommendations in the Where’s the Money report (https://voiceamplified.org/wheres-the-money/).