As Ebola outbreak stabilizes, Gender Alert focuses on women's role in recovery

Date: 04 February 2015

As of 21 January, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that the cumulative number of Ebola cases in the countries with widespread and intense transmission (i.e. Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone) stands at 21,689, with 8,626 recorded deaths.

Now that the rate of infection seems to be stabilizing, more attention is being paid to the wider, socio-economic impact of the crisis which also effects women, men, girls and boys in different ways. According to a new Gender Alert on the crisis, the role of women and girls in post-crisis recovery will be essential. 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 emphasizes the importance of highlighting gender equality in the continuing humanitarian response and the transition to recovery as well as in strategic planning and financing decisions currently underway.

The Alert also notes anecdotal evidence that female genital mutilation (FGM) has drastically reduced in Sierra Leone. With the official banning and the reluctance of the circumcisers to carry out FGM, it says “there is an opportunity to build the anti-FGM momentum in Sierra Leone with educational and informative programmes on the positive aspects of not returning to this practice.”

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: February 2015

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