39 million girls at risk: are humanitarian responses doing enough? (May 2016)

Girls are at greater risk from the effects of emergencies but their needs are rarely addressed by humanitarian programmes.

Theirworld – 39 million girls at risk – Are humanitarian response doing enough?

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39 million girls are at risk. Are humanitarian responses doing enough?

When conflicts and natural disasters happen, girls are disproportionately affected and are more likely than boys to have their education disrupted.

In 2015, 39 million girls were out of school because of war and disaster. They are 2.5 times more likely to drop out of school than boys. Out of school, they are much more vulnerable to exploitation and abuse.

While the importance of education in emergencies is widely recognised, humanitarian responses do not make girls’ education a priority. This leaves girls, already at risk of exploitation and exclusion, in an even more dangerous situation.

This report looks at how humanitarian responses too often have a gender blind spot. The specific needs of girls, such as separate toilets, are often overlooked. In many cases adolescent girls were simply “invisible during disasters” and gender is not addressed in emergency responses.

It examines the issues of trafficking, child marriage, early pregnancy and maternal mortality, and forced labour.

TheirWorld has eight key recommendations to help girls at risk:

  • Plan to provide equitable education throughout crisis situations.
  • Integrate gender analysis into education aid programmes and include safe spaces for women and girls to access services and get support.
  • Assess what damage the emergency has caused on the education system as part of initial assessments.
  • Measure the gender equality of programmes and how well they protected women and girls.
  • Request resources in emergency appeals that makes sure girls get equal access to education.
  • Protect children, teachers and schools from attack.
  • Ensure that INEE Minimum Standards for Education: Preparedness, Response and Recovery are used.
  • Fund: Education Cannot Wait with at least $4 billion over the first five years in order to reach all children by 2030.