To mark International Women’s Day 2018 the International Rescue Committee (IRC) have released a new film.
The IRC gave cameras to IRC women working on the front line of humanitarian aid so they can tell the world what needs to be done to end violence and discrimination against women and girls.
They also released a blog post to accompany the film here, highlighting 8 things we can do to support women and girls reproduced below.
1. Listen to survivors
Listening to survivors reveals the shocking levels of violence women and girls face when they are forced to flee their homes. We must all find ways to not just listen to survivors but to show that speaking up has a real impact in changing how the humanitarian community responds in an emergency.
2. Deliver services for women and girls where and when they need them
There is a significant lack of services to address gender-based violence in humanitarian responses, particularly in rural areas. Despite international agreement that this must change, we’re not seeing real change on the ground. We need to find the cash to increase this type of work now – not in a few years.
3. Focus on adolescent girls
Adolescence is often a time when girls’ self-esteem and aspiration give way to harmful gender norms, and their worlds can begin to shrink. Yet adolescent girls often fall through the gap between services that reach children and those focussed on adults. We must invest in specific programmes that address the unique needs of adolescent girls.
4. Involve local women
Local women’s organisations are often best placed to respond when an emergency strikes. They have the trust and reach to manage culturally sensitive issues and tackle the causes of violence. Without involving these groups when responding to an emergency the humanitarian community is missing an opportunity to affect lasting change.
5. Create places where women and girls can find comfort and heal
Creating nurturing, non-violent spaces for women to support one another and raise awareness of their rights, as well as accessing the medical or legal help they need, has been proven to have a positive impact on women’s coping strategies.
6. Tackle patriarchal norms which say women and girls deserve violence
The root causes of the problem are found in deep seated beliefs about the place and value of women and girls that excuse violence against them. It is essential to also work with men and boys on challenging these harmful ideas.
7. Give women cash
When women are given cash in an emergency it increases the freedom they have to make their own choices. The good news is that the use of cash is increasing – it must continue.
8. Do all of this as soon as the crisis starts
Violence against women and girls escalates in every single humanitarian emergency yet steps to address it only receive 0.5% of all humanitarian funding. If we are really serious then this is the first place to start.