As front-line caretakers in Ebola crisis, women and girls need gender-based humanitarian response, Gender Alert says

Date: 26 September 2014

As of 18 September, 5,335 suspected and confirmed cases of Ebola have been reported in the West African nations of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, where transmission of the disease is widespread. The combined death toll in these countries has reached 2,622, setting the mortality rate at 49 per cent. As front-line healthcare workers and caretakers in their communities, women face a greater risk of contracting the disease.

In response, better gender-based solutions are needed in the humanitarian response to the outbreak, according to a new Gender Alert on the crisis. Produced by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Reference Group on Gender in Humanitarian Action, which UN Women co-chairs, the alert on the Ebola crisis in West Africa states that current data on the situation is not disaggregated by sex and age, making gender-based solutions more difficult to implement.

Given the role women and girls play in their communities, their input into the humanitarian response is essential. The alert also highlights the need to address Ebola’s economic impact on women and girls, their increased risk of experiencing gender-based violence, and the stigmatization faced by survivors.

UN Women – together with IFRC, UNHCR, and the Women’s Refugee Commission – is a co-chair of the IASC Reference Group which is made up of UN and non-UN agencies, NGOs and civil society organizations and promotes the integration of gender equality and women’s empowerment in global humanitarian efforts.

Read the full gender alert here: Humanitarian Crisis in West Africa (Ebola) Gender Alert: September 2014

Find out more about UN Women’s response to the Ebola crisis here.