Revision of the IASC Gender Handbook in Humanitarian Action

Published Date
What is the IASC Gender Handbook? The IASC Gender Handbook Women, Girls, Boys and Men -Different Needs, Equal Opportunities was published by the IASC in 2006 ‘to provide actors in the field with guidance on gender analysis, planning and actions to ensure that the needs, contributions and capacities of women, girls, boys and men are considered in all aspects of humanitarian response’. The Handbook was developed in conjunction with the UN and non-UN membership agencies of the IASC to provide an overview of the principles of genderequality and women’s empowerment in humanitarian action. It also gives practical guidance on how to integrate those principles into key humanitarian services –including education, shelter, camp management, food, health, non-food items (NFI), livelihoods, and water and sanitation (WASH). As such,it has proved an excellent knowledge resource for humanitarian practitioners who may not necessarily have specific expertise in gender-equality humanitarian programming. Why is the Handbook being revised? The Handbook states that ‘through feedback from practitioners in the field on how to make it more practical and user-friendly, the handbook will be improved over time.’ Now the time has come, and as part of the work plan by the IASC Gender Reference Group (GRG) UN Women and OXFAM are coleading the efforts to update it and reflect the current iteration of the Cluster System, the Gender Marker, the Humanitarian Programme Cycle and other important advances in humanitarian coordination, leadership, accountability and partnership. This process will also complement the ecently completed revision of the IASC’s Guidelines for GBV Interventions in Humanitarian Settings, which were originally published in 2005. What is the process for revisions? Preliminary consultations have been held in New York in December 2015 with a group of gender experts from INGOs and UN, leading to an agreed timeline for revisions: A Steering Committee will be convened in early January 2016; Interviews with clusters and lead agencies will be carried out in Geneva and Rome in late January; hree to five field missions will be carried out to include other key groups of stakeholders from women’s organisations to government bodies and gauge first-hand use of the Handbook and expectations from its review. The highlights from these consultations will be presented to the IASC Working Group for the World Humanitarian Summit in May 2016. For further information, to arrange a consultation and/or to provide feedback about the IASC Gender Handbook, please contact lead external consultant Mireia Cano Vinas at