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Groupe URD focuses on gender policies in humanitarian action

In the 1970s, feminists appropriated the term ‘gender’ so that it no longer simply meant a grammatical category but also designated a sexual identity, which was the result of social construction. This term is now widely used by sociologists to explain the relations of power which exist between men and women. The question of equality is relevant to the humanitarian and development sectors as well and gender issues have become a variable which need to be taken into account in programme design

During the International Conference on Population and Development in 1994, the emphasis was already on the role that men would have in achieving equality: “Men play a key role in bringing about gender equality” [1]. 15 years later, in 2009, a symposium held in Brasil, on the involvement of men, once again underlined the need to involve men, as both actors and beneficiaries [2].

Camille Chevrier, a student in Sociology at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHSS), states the initial hypothesis that if men are not involved a great deal, we can suppose that this is because, first of all, the individual appropriation of gender by male and female actors has a more or less direct impact on the implementation of programmes. Individual appropriation and understanding of gender by male and female actors leads to a number of sub-questions: What place is given to gender in an emergency response? Do they consider this dimension to be a priority? How is gender mainstreaming contextualized and how is it received in the field? What does this appropriation imply on a day-to-day basis for male and female actors? What do male and female humanitarian and development workers understand about “gender”? In a transnational context, what gender are we talking about? (though relations of power between women and men are universal, they are not the same everywhere in the world)

These are the questions that Mme Chevrier will be aiming to answer during her internship at Groupe URD’s Haiti Observatory in early 2014. The results of this study will be published in September. They will then be debated during a workshop which will bring together different actors from the gender and humanitarian action sector.

[1] United Nations, Report of the International Conference on Population and Development, Cairo, 5-13 September 1994, United Nations, New York, 1995.

[2] http://www.promundo.org.br/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/Global-Symposium.pdf