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Gender Equality Programming in Emergencies

For supporting documents and resources for Gender Equality in Emergencies, visit here.

Why Gender in Emergencies?

“It is widely accepted that disasters, both natural and man-made, impact women, girls, men and boys differently, with the level of vulnerability and gender equality being key determinants of which groups are worse affected. […] in general women and girls are far more likely to die in a disaster at an earlier age.” - ‘Empowering women and girls affected by crisis’ report

Crises have different impacts on women, girls, boys and men. People face different risks based on their age, sex and gender. CARE also recognises that gender intersects with other forms of diversity which can exacerbate unequal power relations e.g. characteristics such as race, caste, ethnicity, sexual orientation and disability among others, that can impact how people prepare for, respond to, recover from and are impacted by crisis. Recognising these differences that exist within and between communities, will often highlight unique concerns and bring different perspectives, experiences, and solutions, to the challenges faced by communities. Based on this, the need for assistance and protection will vary.

Our activities and approach during a humanitarian response can increase and reinforce, or reduce, existing inequalities. Integrating gender into every stage of a response is therefore a core part of CARE achieving their humanitarian mandate.

For more information and statistics on Gender in Emergencies, visit the Gender in Practice webpage.

Gender in Emergencies: CARE's Approach

“…empowering women and girls is a critical pathway to reduce vulnerability and poverty for the whole community, as well as being essential for achieving gender equality.” CARE International Humanitarian and Emergency Strategy 2013-2020 (p.4).

Gender equality and women’s voice is central to CARE’s approach in emergencies. As a rights based organisation, CARE seeks to promote equal realization of dignity and human rights, and the elimination of poverty and injustice for all genders and ages.

Essential to achieving this, is a focus on women and girls’ empowerment, as well as engagement of men and boys.

Humanitarian crises offer a ‘window of opportunity’ to transform unequal gender relations and shift harmful gender norms. Knowing this, CARE works along a continuum to ensure that, at the very least, emergency responses are gender sensitive, but strive to be, gender transformative.

CARE's approach to gender in emergencies focuses on 4 key areas (see graphic). These are outlined in CARE’s Gender in Emergencies Guidance note.

CARE's Gender in Emergencies Approach can be used at any point in the humanitarian project cycle. For example, Rapid Gender Analysis can be conducted as part of Emergency Preparedness. Minimum Commitments on Gender, Protection and Diversity for Sectors can be used as a training package to help humanitarian mainstream gender before and after a crisis has occurred.

Rapid Gender Analysis

Rapid Gender Analysis is a tool developed by CARE. It ensures humanitarians to have real-time sex and age disaggregated information, gender analysis, and practical insight into the effects of a crisis on women, men boys and girls.

A Rapid Gender Analysis primarily seeks to understand these three questions:

  1. What are gendered-related rights denials in a given context?
  2. How will gender relations affect the achievement of sustainable results?
  3. How will proposed results affect the relative status of men and women? Will it exacerbate or reduce inequalities?

The CARE Rapid Gender Analysis Toolkit on the CARE Insights page and the Wiki RGA toolkit provides detailed guidance on the five steps to conduct an RGA. The CARE RGA links to more in-depth Gender and Power Analysis using the CARE Good Practice Framework. The external communications document can be found here and previous RGA's per country can be found here.

Sector specific minimum commitments: demystifying gender and diversity programming

The Minimum Commitments on Gender, Protection and Diversity are a tool meant to make gender sensitive and inclusive programming tangible, simple and practical. First used by country clusters, they became a key resource for the global WASH cluster that developed minimum commitments for the safety and dignity of affected people. CARE has been involved from the start in the piloting of the tool and is now working on widening its uptake

Ensuring gender is mainstreamed and integrated throughout all steps of the humanitarian programme cycle helps to ensure that adequate and efficient services and assistance is provided, with attention to users’ safety, dignity and equal access. Minimum Commitments are people-centred commitments that aim at improving the quality and efficiency of response programmes, and ensuring that key issues such as gender, gender based violence, child protection, disability, and age are taken into consideration by all partners. They also help to reinforce the accountability of sectoral interventions to the affected population. CARE has developed a set of minimum commitment for its core sectors: WASH, Shelter, Food Security and Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights.

Links to guidance and minimum commitments can be found below:

For more information click here.


Women Lead in Emergencies

Gender equality in humanitarian programming is most effectively achieved if women and girls actively participate, and are empowered to decide how to participate, in the decisions being made on how to meet their needs. CARE is committed to supporting women’s participation, leadership and collective action during emergencies.

A focus on women’s equal voice, leadership and participation aims to transform the root causes of poverty and injustice, to save lives and increase gender equality. Particular efforts are made to reach marginalized women and girls, including women with disabilities, indigenous women, elderly women, and women of diverse sexual orientation and gender identity, engaging them as active partners, and building on their needs and capacities.

CARE has piloted five steps for their Women Lead in Emergencies approach, in Tonga, Uganda and Niger. The five steps include:

  1. Reflect: Communities and aid workers reflect on women’s leadership
  2. Analyse: Rapid gender analysis of power and decision making
  3. Co-create: Women collectively identify ways to address barriers to women’s leadership
  4. Act: CARE supports the strategies and activities for change that women identified
  5. Learn: Participatory action learning to reflect on and adapt strategies and activities.

The aim of Women Lead in Emergencies is to ensure, through the five step process, that women’s voice and participation in decision-making is integrated throughout an entire emergency response programme. It prioritises working with existing groups and putting women at the center of decision making, response and recovery processes.

For more information on Women Lead in Emergencies Pilot in Tonga, see the report here

Life Free From Violence / Gender Based Violence in Emergencies

In an emergency GBV is exacerbated, and vulnerabilities and risk increase. Preventing and responding to GBViE is a life-saving activity that requires a prioritised response and is mandatory in CARE programming.

CARE defines GBV as: a harmful act or threat based on a person’s sex or gender identity. It includes physical, sexual and psychological abuse, coercion, denial of liberty and economic deprivation, whether occurring in public or private spheres. GBV is rooted in unjust power relations, structures and social/cultural norms.

CARE Framework and Theory of Change for Addressing Gender-Based Violence in Emergencies unpacks CARE’s specific Theory of Change and framework for addressing GBV in emergencies (GBViE) from the broader LFFV Theory of Change (October 2018). It also seeks to establish GBViE as a manifestation of gender inequality and discrimination and, therefore, to site a response to GBViE within our overall work on addressing gender in emergencies.CARE has defined six programming priorities that make up its framework to address GBViE:

  1. Ensure the routine inclusion, resourcing and monitoring of GBV risk mitigation measures across all technical programming, including Food Security, Nutrition & Livelihoods, WASH, Shelter & Settlements and SRH, and modalities (e.g. cash and voucher assistance, services and in-kind).
  2. Work with communities to shift patriarchal social norms and address the root causes, exacerbating factors and impacts of GBV in crisis contexts.
  3. Create and manage ‘Safe Spaces for Women and Girls’/’Women and Girl-Friendly Spaces.
  4. Provide appropriate gender and age-sensitive sexual and reproductive health in emergency (SRH-E) services including, where possible, the clinical management of rape (CMR). This programming priority addresses the need to enhance the consistent and robust integration of CARE’s GBViE and SRH-E programming.
  5. Engage men and boys to prevent and address GBV.
  6. Inform learning, adaptation and scale-up of CARE’s work and advocacy to influence changes in humanitarian processes, practices, policies and programming to address GBViE.

To support non-GBV practitioners, theGBV constant companion contains two basic tools for field practitioners to know what to do in case a GBV incident is disclosed to them: 1) Psychological first aid: do’s and don’ts, and 2) GBV responder flow chart.

To practically and ethically monitor and mitigate gender-based violence (GBV) refer to CARE’s Guidance for Gender Based Violence (GBV) Monitoring and Mitigation within Non-GBV Focused Sectoral Programming. Sample indicators for WASH, Shelter, Health/SRH can also be drawn upon from the IASC GBV Guidelines.

CARE International UK, with funding from the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), have developed a toolkit to mitigate risks of GBV in Shelter programming in emergencies. Click here to access the toolkit online.

Gender in Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning (MEAL)

Incorporating gender into MEAL provides the opportunity to understand, learn from, and respond to the changing gendered realities and experiences throughout a response. It involves ensuring that MEAL systems and activities are participatory, are not gender-neutral and that they are designed to allow teams understand and challenge unequal power relations that may exist. Crucially, MEAL should seek to contribute to social change by empowering marginalized groups to be heard and influence the decision-making that affects them. (taken from Applying Feminist Principles to MEAL at CARE Canada Guidance Note)

The following tools and processes are in place for ensuring gender within MEAL processes:

Analyse sex- and age-disaggregated data

In order to understand the different needs of women, girls, boys and men, it is necessary to collect, monitor, analyse and use sex-and-age-disaggregated (SADD) data, as well as data on other relevant factors based on the context, such as ethnicity, caste, religion and disability. When collecting data on disability The Washington Group Short Set of Questions on Disability can be used. These questions are designed to identify persons who have difficulty performing basic universal activities (walking, seeing, hearing, cognition, self-care and communication) with the questions designed for use in humanitarian response settings where time and resources are limited.

Identify, monitor, and respond to gendered issues: Integrating gender into MEAL requires building gender reflection into monitoring. Initially this involves analysing and understanding how sex, age and other data on diversity, needs to influence programming, and how current programming will or is having an impact on different groups. Following this, it is necessary to review how the situation is changing for different sex, age and diversity groups and ensure we respond to issues such as: changing protection risks and needs, unintended consequences, and changing gender roles and relations.

To achieve this, the following guidance has been developed and is in its second pilot phase: Gender equality and women’s voice supplementary indicators, with further information to be found here - gender in emergencies indicators.

The CARE Gender Marker

The CARE Gender Marker is one of the key tools that supports the implementation of CARE’s Gender Equality and Women’s Voice Approach. CARE’s Gender Marker is a self-assessment program quality and learning tool, that allows us to monitor and learn to what extent gender equality is integrated into humanitarian projects along the CARE Gender Continuum, on a five-point scale, from harmful to transformative.

The CARE Gender Marker was originally piloted for use in humanitarian programming. CARE drew on the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Gender Marker, and expanded its application throughout the entire project cycle of humanitarian relief, from preparedness to planning and proposals, and into the response.

The humanitarian pilot began in 2014 in Syria, West Africa, and the Philippines. The external evaluation took place in 2015. The external evaluation recommended the integration of the Gender Marker into CARE’s systems. The report with findings and recommendations can be found here.

The Gender Marker can be used at multiple stages throughout programming, enabling CARE to track, improve on, and support more effective, gender integrated programming, allowing teams to continuously improve programming to better meet the needs of women, girls, boys and men.

The Gender Marker is designed to be used by non-gender specialists and in combination with Monitoring, Evaluation and Accountability systems to help teams reflect on the integration of gender in order to learn from and improve the gendered approach of their work

The CARE Gender Marker guidance note and webpage includes comprehensive guidance on how to apply the tool as well as key learnings. Further information can be found here.

In addition to the CARE Gender Marker, the Gender Equality Women's Voice (GEWV) indicators were developed with the aim of allowing CARE to capture, measure, and track the changes occurring as a result of dedicated gender approaches across development and humanitarian programming. The resulting data should enable CARE to systematically build a picture of the changes in agency, structures, and relations taking place in the communities in which we work.

CARE’s global indicators can be found here and further external references can be found in the Core Humanitarian Standards and IASC Guidance for Gender Based Violence (GBV) Monitoring and Mitigation within Non-GBV Focused Sectoral Programming.

Accountability to affected populations

At the heart of CARE’s efforts to impact poverty and social justice, is its engagement with marginalised communities, and vulnerable adults and children. An essential component of CARE’s organisational commitment to upholding the dignity and human rights of the communities it works with, is CARE’s approach to the Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA). CARE’s International Policy on Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse and Child Protection (2018) outlines the organisation’s zero tolerance toward sexual exploitation and abuse and child abuse. Further guidance on CARE’s approach to PSEA is outlined in Section 33 of the emergency toolkit. Training packages are also available for all staff:

CARE PSEA Training Resources (new June 2016)

A 2-hour PSEA introductory session includes session guide, powerpoint, handout and case study.





A 2-day PSEA sensitisation workshop - training manual in English and in French

Further resources on CARE's approach to the Protection of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse can be found here.

CARE’s Strategic Impact Inquiry (SII)

CARE’s SII is rights-based action research that uses processes of critical inquiry to build new knowledge and accountabilities among staff, partners, allies and the communities affected by CARE’s work. It aims to understand the impact our humanitarian response work is having on the short- and long-term dynamics of gender inequality in the communities we serve. Further guidance and examples of the SII can be found here.

Gender in Crisis

Gender in Crisis aims to capture learning from the impact of past crisis on gender equality and how gender equality was integrated (or not) in a response. Learning from past experiences and understanding previous impacts of emergencies within communities, can make CARE’s future responses more efficient and effective.The aim of the Gender in Crisis work is to look at the after-action review with a gender lens. A guidance note, providing information on how to prepare a Gender in Crisis document can be found here, along with the Gender in Crisis Template and an example of a Gender in Crisis report from Papua New Guinea.

Gender in emergencies - Cash & Voucher Assistance (CVA)

Because gender is one of the key sources of inequality and marginalization in the world today, the need for CVA to account for the distinct needs, capacities, and vulnerabilities of women and girls, men and boys is a priority for CARE, in line with its commitment to women’s empowerment and gender equality. In October 2019, CARE released its multi-country study: What does gender-sensitive cash and voucher assistance look like? The accompanying brief looks at the six key points needed to make cash and voucher assistance work for women and girls, and men and boys in their communities. You can also read the full report in French, and the brief in French, Portuguese, Arabic and Spanish.

For guidance on how to mitigate Gender-based Violence in cash and voucher assistance and use the modalities in GBV case management, the CARE supported Cash and Voucher Assistance and Gender- Based Violence Compendium Practical Guidance for Humanitarian Practitioners, which is a companion guide to the IASC GBV Guidelines, is available in English, Spanish, French and Arabic.

A study focusing on the gendered protection implications of cash and voucher assistance in Somalia/Somaliland can be found here, with the executive summary here.

Gender in Emergency Prepardness

Considering gender during emergency preparedness planning (EPP) helps to lay a strong foundation for delivering a gender sensitive response. Emergency Preparedness Planning must include gender equality and women’s empowerment. The following steps can help ensure gender is integrated across all parts of the EPP process.

  • The ERT is trained on gender issues (minimum requirement: IASC e-learning course)
  • Ensure CARE’s participation in inter-agency preparedness/coordination, specifically in the HCT and Gender & protection cluster
  • Ensure Gender Brief is prepared / updated. Examples of gender in briefs can be found here.
  • Gender in Emergencies (GiE) focal point is identified and has participated in relevant trainings including have one conversation with CI Gender in Emergency Advisor
  • Ensure Gender Action Plan is prepared and included with EPP workbook
  • Conduct a gender equality and diversity in emergencies training session with all staff
  • Integrate gender equality into the seven steps of the EPP process
  • Identify women’s civil society organisations to engage with
  • Use the Gender in Crisis guidance to analyse the impact of previous crises on gender relations to help prepare for future crisis.

Section 37 of CARE’s emergency toolkit provides more detailed guidance on emergency preparedness.

Gender and finance / human resources in emergencies

CARE’s International Gender Policy outlines explicit commitments to support gender equality and this link provides further information to CARE’s organisational focus, commitments and approach to gender equity, equality and diversity in the workplace.

Equipping humanitarian responses with the right skills, tools, and capacities to integrate gender effectively requires adequate and appropriate internal financial and human resources. Key considerations include:

  • Ensure a gender-balanced team at all levels. CARE’s guidance note on Recruiting Gender Balanced Teams, provides six simple steps for recruiting a balanced team, with a focus on under-represented groups, particularly women.
  • Budget for appropriate and adequate resources to fund gender mainstreaming work and targeted responses. Find out more in CARE’s guidance note on GiE budgeting and the new GiE sample budget (coming soon!).
  • Gender-sensitive partnerships: Ensure an understanding of, and commitment to, gender equality within and gender-sensitivity in the selection of partners. For more information on partner assessments, see CARE’s guidance note on Gender-sensitive Partnerships

Training: CARE is committed to building capacity on gender in emergencies for CARE staff, partners and peer organisations. For training and orientation resources, please see below:

gender_in_emergencies_approach.txt · Last modified: 2019/12/16 16:28 by admin