In Focus: World Humanitarian Day 2019

A woman humanitarian aid worker in Cameroon. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown
Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown

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An unprecedented number of people are living through humanitarian crises today. Armed conflict, natural disaster, disease and violent persecution have forced more than 70 million people from their homes.

While women and girls are often severely impacted by crises, they are also leaders in recovery and resilience. This year, World Humanitarian Day (19 August) is honouring the women humanitarian workers who work on the front lines in their communities to help people in need.

There are more than half a million humanitarian workers on the front lines of war and disaster around the world, about 40 per cent of them are women, many of whom work in some of the most dangerous corners of the globe. Women are often the first to respond in crises, and the last to leave. And their efforts play a key role in the survival and resilience of families and communities.

On World Humanitarian Day, share the stories of amazing women who scale impossible challenges every day in humanitarian settings, striving for a safer and better future for all.

Top stories


Gender equality is essential to humanitarian action. On this World Humanitarian Day, UN Women salutes the women humanitarians around the globe who have acted as first responders in the darkest hours of crisis.

In Brazil, UN Women helps Venezuelan women living as migrants, asylum seekers and refugees to get back on their feet with psychosocial support, emergency cash assistance, and safe spaces.


1 in 5 refugees or displaced women in complex humanitarian settings are estimated to have experienced sexual violence – likely an underestimation given the barriers associated with disclosure.
60% of preventable maternal deaths take place in settings of conflict, displacement and natural disasters.
Girls are 2.5 times more likely to be out of school in conflict-affected countries than their counterparts in conflict-free countries.

Social media

Every disaster affects women. Every response must include women.

Help us spread the word using #WorldHumanitarianDay and #WomenHumanitarians (English), #TrabajadorasHumanitarias (Spanish), and #FemmesHumanitaires (French).

A social media package with graphics and suggested messages in multiple languages can be found here.

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See our previous coverage of women in humanitarian action: 2016 and 2017, 2018