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Oxfam welcomes progress to protect girls and women in emergencies

Posted by Jon Slater Head of News

13th Nov 2013

Speaking from the Protecting Girls and Women in Emergencies event co-hosted by the UK Government today, Mark Goldring, Oxfam Chief Executive, said: "We're delighted the UK Government has chosen to shine the spotlight on violence against women and girls - a problem that has too often been confined to the shadows.

"Preventing violence against women and ensuring help for survivors of violence must be a central part of emergency responses. This is a great first step but we must also remember, violence against women does not begin or end in humanitarian crises. We look forward to working with the government and the humanitarian community to address the root causes of violence and strengthen women's rights"

Further information: Jon Slater 01865 472249 / 07876 476403 / 

Note to editors: Full text of Oxfam's pledge is below.

Oxfam will promote women's rights and meet the needs of women and girls, as well as men and boys, in all our humanitarian responses by implementing Oxfam's new Minimum Standards for Gender in Emergencies. We will advocate for the wider humanitarian community to agree to similar standards on gender equality.


•Oxfam will ensure that all humanitarian evaluations assess the extent to which humanitarian programmes have contributed to promoting gender equality and women's rights, and the prevention of and response to gender-based violence/violence against women and girls (GBV/VAWG). It will share this learning with the wider humanitarian community. 

•Oxfam will play a leadership role in cash and WASH programming, continuing to incorporate a strong gender analysis into programme design, promote safe programming approaches to reduce risk of GBV/VAWG, promote meaningful participation and leadership of women, and contribute to women's empowerment and the promotion of gender equality. 

•Oxfam will incorporate structured referral mechanisms within key humanitarian responses to ensure that survivors of GBV/VAWG get rapid, safe access to the care and support they require. Already such an approach has helped tens of thousands of people at risk get access to emergency care in eastern DRC - the vast majority of them being women and girls affected by sexual violence. 

•Oxfam will use its global capacity for advocacy to call for the specific needs and rights of women and girls to be met in humanitarian responses, alongside those of men and boys. Oxfam will highlight the impact of crises on women and girls and help bring the voices of women's rights organisations to national and global policy-makers and duty-bearers. 

•Oxfam will continue to implement our policies relating to safeguarding, protection from sexual exploitation and abuse, and child protection. 

•Oxfam will launch an internal Knowledge Hub on the elimination of violence against women and girls in order to build the knowledge base of effective programming to eliminate GBV/VAWG and tackle its root causes (drawing on the work of local organisations in challenging cultural attitudes, beliefs and behaviours). We will share this learning with the wider humanitarian and development community. 

Pending funding, Oxfam will seek to: 

•Build the capacity of a range of women's rights organisations as humanitarian actors that promote women's rights in disaster preparedness and response. Oxfam will partner with national women's rights organisations, in 3 countries especially those who can effectively address GBV/VAWG and build their capacity to deliver high quality, gender-sensitive humanitarian responses, participate in international coordination and planning processes, and influence the humanitarian system to be more inclusive of local civil-society actors.

•Develop innovations in referral mechanisms and promote women's rights through more effective communications technology. It will focus on women's access to critical information and services for survivors of GBV/VAWG, and eliminating underlying inequalities.

Blog post written by Jon Slater

Head of News

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