The regional perspective

  • The IFRC recognizes that women and men have different capacities, strengths, needs and vulnerabilities, each of which can impact on their resilience to disasters and crises. There is substantial evidence worldwide (and within the Southeast Asia region) of the negative impacts on women, girls, boys and men when humanitarian assistance is not adequately sensitive to gender or diversity considerations.
  • When gender and diversity equality is actively promoted, it can positively transform and enhance individual lives as well as societies as a whole.
  • The Fundamental Principle of impartiality: The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement makes no discrimination as to nationality, race, religious beliefs, class or political opinions. It endeavors to relieve the suffering of individuals, being guided solely by their needs, and to give priority to the most urgent cases of distress. 
  • Non-discrimination is the refusal to apply distinctions of an adverse nature to human beings simply because they belong to a specific category, including on the basis of sex or age. All those in need shall be helped. For the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement, impartiality means that the only priority that can be set in dealing with those who require help, must be based on need. Further, the order in which available aid is shared out, must correspond to the urgency of the distress it is intended to relieve.

Key Definitions

Sex:

The biological differences between men and women. Our ‘sex’ relates to the biological, physical and genetic composition with which we are born.

Gender:

A person’s gender refers to the social differences between men and women throughout their life cycles. It relate to the attitudes, behaviors, roles and expectations placed on men and women by society, as a result of them being male or female. The term gender should not be seen as being synonymous with women, rather when we talk of ‘gender’ we are being inclusive of all women, men, girls and boys. Characteristics and expectations placed on a person as a result of their gender are changeable over time and in different situations. They can also vary from culture to culture.

The differences between people. These differences can be physical or social and can include: gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, HIV status, socio-economic status, religion, nationality and ethnic origin. There are many interactions between gender and different aspects of diversity and these can further exacerbate a person’s vulnerabilities depending on the culture or the situation. It is necessary that we understand the differences between people and respecting those differences.

Both men and women having the freedom to make choices, to progress and to develop, without being restricted by the roles or expectations placed on them because of their ‘gender’. Men and women do not have to be the same, but they should have equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities.

Gender inequality predominantly impacts negatively on women and girls, as men tend to have more decision-making power and control over resources than women. As such, efforts to advance gender equality need to focus primarily on improving the situation and status of women and girls in their societies. This is a form of Gender Equity.

Marginalization:

Marginalized populations are defined as those groups or individuals who are discriminated against or who have less power to provide for and protect or themselves and their families due to aspects of their diversity.

Vulnerability:

The conditions determined by physical, social, economic, environmental and political factors or processes, which increase risk and susceptibility of people to the impact of hazards.

  • Different Needs - Equal Opportunities: Increasing Effectiveness of Humanitarian Action for Women, Girls, Boys and Men

    4 hours – Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC)

  • Gender Equality, UN Coherence and You

    2 hours – UNICEF

  • Gender in Food and Nutrition Security

    14 hours – FAO

  • Child Protection at the IFRC

    30 minutes

Southeast Asia Gender and Diversity Network
Southeast Asia Gender and Diversity Network

e-mail: Ms. Christina Haneef, at christina.haneef@ifrc.org

Resources

Document library - Gender and diversity

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