Humanitarian crises have a disproportionate effect on women and girls. Not only are they 2.5 times more likely to drop out of school or lose their jobs in emergency situations, but they also have to shoulder the majority of the burden of supporting family members.
When legal and social structures break down, women and girls are also more likely to face violence and discrimination.
According to UN Women, more than 70 percent of women in crisis situations have experienced some form of gender-based violence. This can be assault or exploitation, but it can also take the form of increased domestic abuse or cultural practices like early marriage.
Yet, a recent report by the International Rescue Committee found that only 0.2 percent of humanitarian funding between 2016 and 2018 went towards preventing or addressing gender-based violence. This leaves women and girls especially vulnerable, and can limit their access to aid and other necessary services.
Leadership positions in the humanitarian sector are also more likely to be held by men. A February 2019 report showed that only about one third of the UN’s humanitarian coordinators were women.
Here’s a collection of our recent reporting on how women and girls are affected by crises around the world.
Cured but still contagious: How mixed messages on sexual transmission and breastfeeding may help Ebola spread
More people are surviving Ebola than ever before, but the virus can still be passed on in both semen and breast milk. Women and children are the majority of victims, so why isn’t this a key part of the general prevention messaging?
Some 14 million female refugees and displaced women were subjected to sexual violence last year, but less than 0.2 percent of humanitarian funding goes to preventing it.
1.7 million people were newly infected with HIV in 2018 – in some countries, an infected person was five times more likely to be female.
Girls represent at least one in five children recruited by armed groups. Upon release, many endure stigma and find it hard to reintegrate.
The extent of trauma in northern Uganda is overwhelming the country’s limited capacity for treating mental health problems.
Aid groups warn of ‘avoidable deaths’ as inaccessible clinics, conservative beliefs, and misinformation push pregnant women to forgo healthcare.
Yemen’s war is impacting young girls in a way no one wants to talk about – child marriage appears to be on the rise
In hazard-prone Pacific Island nations, women do much of the work to guard against disasters but still have to fight to be heard.
We uncovered the sex abuse scandal that rocked the WHO, but there’s more to do
We just covered a report that says the World Health Organization failed to prevent and tackle widespread sexual abuse during the Ebola response in Congo.
Our investigation with the Thomson Reuters Foundation triggered this probe, demonstrating the impact our journalism can have.
But this won’t be the last case of aid worker sex abuse. This also won’t be the last time the aid sector has to ask itself difficult questions about why justice for victims of sexual abuse and exploitation has been sorely lacking.
We’re already working on our next investigation, but reporting like this takes months, sometimes years, and can’t be done alone.
The support of our readers and donors helps keep our journalism free and accessible for all. Donations mean we can keep holding power in the aid sector accountable, and do more of this.