The importance of focusing on women’s voice and leadership
Women are often excluded from central decision-making in public and private spaces. This means they do not have a say in identifying what their needs are and deciding how best to meet them.
In humanitarian crises, excluding women’s participation in leadership can have particularly damaging effects. They are the most the hardest hit by conflict, disasters and emergencies because:
When food is short, women and girls eat last, and least.
They are more likely to miss out on education.
They are at much greater risk of sexual violence.
They are the first to lose their jobs and livelihoods.
They have less access to life-saving maternal health services.
They take on even more responsibilities as caregivers – and not just for their own family, but for others, too.
When women’s voices are not heard, responses can unintentionally reinforce gender inequality, and even cause harm to women and girls.
Increasing women’s and girls’ representation and leadership in all areas of private and public life is essential to effectively meet the needs and rights of people of all genders.
Women’s equal voice and leadership in public life means that everyone has the opportunity and ability to participate meaningfully in public decisions that affect their lives at all levels of society and government. Meaningful participation requires that people not only have access to, or are present within decision-making processes, but are also able to participate actively and have influence over the design and outcomes.