Womanitarians / Sheroes

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When one of our colleagues visited Nepal in 2016, she spoke with women from communities hit by the devastating earthquake in April 2015. Even though the women had gone through an absolute ordeal, they felt empowered, even grateful, because they had been able to improve their position in the community. The key to this? Women-led emergency response! A crisis can be a catalytic moment. Because women were the one leading the disaster response, the way the communities viewed the women transformed.

Crises: a tragedy but also opportunity. We support women-led emergency response with a long-term transformative agenda! #womensrights #womanitarians

Project description

What problem are you trying to solve?

  • Gender inequality means women & children are 14 times more likely to die in disasters than men.
  • Disasters also exacerbate (sexual) violence, increase women’s care work & cause other numerous human rights violations
  • Only 12% of UN crisis response funding considers women’s needs, yet women & their organisations are underrepresented during emergency response operations
  • Gender stereotyping & discrimination leads to the exclusion of women from emergency response, yet they are often best-placed to tackle the issues. This way the response misses out on vital human resources.
  • The number & intensity of crises in the world is only going to increase in coming years due to climate change, inequality &conflict.


What is your solution to this problem?
Women-led emergency preparedness & response! Women-led emergency preparedness & response is crucial to make sure communities are prepared for crises, power imbalance & gender inequality is addressed and women’s rights are improved in the long term. When women’s leadership in emergencies is effectively resourced and recognized it can transform the way societies view women in the long term.

What is your latest update on your innovation?
This approach has been applied in numerous countries around the world and women-led emergency response is proven to:
1. Save more lives
2. Protects women& girls from violence
3. And safeguards women’s rights during and well beyond the crisis


ilse heeremans
Elliaa Jutte

Kelly Groen


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