Checking a Box or Creating Change? Examining the Overall State of Gender Mainstreaming in Humanitarian Action

Class Year


Document Type

Student Research Paper

Date of Creation

Fall 2019

Department 1

Center for Global Education

Department 2

Public Policy


Humanitarian organizations provide aid and assistance to millions of individuals impacted by natural disasters and armed conflict every day. However, not all individuals are equally impacted by humanitarian crises. Since the 1995 Beijing Conference on Women introduced the term ‘gender mainstreaming’, humanitarian organizations have recognized and taken steps to address gender specific needs in crisis situations. While there is an abundance of research concerning these gender specific needs, there is little research on the overall state of gender mainstreaming in humanitarian policy. This paper seeks to fill this gap by examining gender mainstreaming in the humanitarian community through some of its key actors. Through analysis of primary and secondary sources, along with interviews from key humanitarian organizations working on gender issues, this paper presents an overview of the system as well as some key challenges and limitations surrounding the implementation of gender mainstreaming.


Written for SIT Switzerland: Global Health and Development Policy program.