Thematic Areas: Gender Equality

“To ensure women and girls, boys and men have equal access to and benefit from humanitarian assistance – we must “follow the money”.  We need to know how we spend money and who benefits. 
This is why we are instituting a system of tracking funding – called a gender marker.
Only in this way can we be sure we target all the population equally and make sure they receive the resources needed to help them to build back better after emergencies.”

Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and
Emergency Relief Coordinator






Understanding how crises affect women and men, girls and boys is critical to our humanitarian effectiveness. Women, men, girls and boys experience crisis differently: they have different priorities, responsibilities and protection needs. Women, girls, boys and men can also play different roles in responding to conflict and building peace. While women and girls are disproportionately affected during crises, they are not victims. Gender inequalities undermine the ability of women and girls to enjoy their rights and to be active partners in humanitarian action.

Current activities

In 2013, OCHA will focus its efforts on implementing its newly endorsed Gender Equality Policy. It will roll out the OCHA Gender Toolkitto build capacity of OCHA Staff in how to mainstream gender.  OCHA will also continue to work within the IASC to mainstream gender equality in particular with clusters and support the use of the IASC Gender Markerin funding mechanisms.  OCHA will continue to support GenCapand host GenCap deployments in many humanitarian situations

OCHA’s Seven Minimum Gender Commitments. OCHA staff will:

  1. Apply the ADAPT and ACT C Framework in all programming areas, ensuring, at a minimum, the following three elements are addressed, as they are fundamental to an effective humanitarian response:

    - Routine analysis of gender concerns to inform humanitarian programming and policy processes.
    - Regular and timely collection and analysis of sex- and age-disaggregated data.
    - Support to coordination of gender programming in the response.

  2. Integrate gender issues into preparedness and resilience processes from data collection, assessments, planning and capacity-building for national partners.
  3. Support the application of the IASC Gender Marker into OCHA-managed appeals and funding mechanisms.
  4. Ensure that monitoring and evaluation mechanisms can ascertain if the different needs of women, girls, boys and men have been met in the humanitarian response.
  5. Develop communication and advocacy products that capture the different needs, capacities and voices of women, girls, boys and men.
  6. Provide support to humanitarian country leadership, including cluster leads, to effectively integrate gender within humanitarian programming.
  7. Put in place necessary actions to protect women, girls, boys and men from all forms of sexual exploitation and abuse by OCHA staff, in line with the Secretary-General’s bulletin on protection from sexual exploitation and abuse (ST/SGB/2003/13).

To assist staff in undertaking mainstreaming of gender into all of OCHA's core areas of work,  a Gender ToolKit has been developed.  The Toolkit is designed to provide practical guidance to OCHA staff to effectively integrate gender into their day-to-day activities.

IASC Sub-working Group on Gender

OCHA is an active member of the IASC Sub-working Group on Gender (SWG), and channels most of its activities through this group. The SWG provides technical support to the IASC and works to ensure gender mainstreaming in the cluster approach, and in humanitarian emergency response in general. The group meets regularly and produces an annual work plan.


OCHA Gender Toolkit
Gender Equality Toolkit [English - French]
Gender Toolkit: PSEA and OCHA
Gender Mainstreaming in Clusters
Gender and Resilience
Gender in Emergency Response Funds Projects
Gender in OCHA Coordination Projects
Gender in Coordinated Needs Assessments
Gender and Preparedness
Gender Definitions and Mandates
ADAPT and ACT C Framework


2013 IASC Gender Marker - Analysis of Results and Lessons Learned
Gender Equality: A people-centred approach (OCHA Policy Guidance)
Gender Concerns – Cote d'Ivoire crisis, March 2011 [English - French] - IASC Sub-Working Group on Gender and Humanitarian Action
Gender Handbook [English - French - Arabic - Spansh - Chinese - Farsi], Dec 2006 - IASC
Inventory of Resources: an Annotated Bibliography of References as a Supplement to the IASC Gender Handbook in Humanitarian Action, Jan 2007 - IASC
Guidelines for Gender-based Violence (GBV) [English - French - Spanish], IASC
OCHA Gender Action Plan , 2010   
Consultation on the IASC Gender Marker, Feb 2010 - IASC
Global Review of Protection for Sexual Exploitaiton and Abuse (PSEA) by UN, NGO, IOM and IFRC Personnel, July 2010
Sex and Age Matter - Disaggregated Data (SADD) Study, Aug 2011 - OCHA/Feinstein/Tufts/Care
Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse website