Women, girls in "driving seat" of humanitarian decision-making, says UN

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Stephen O’Brien, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator. UN File Photo/Manuel Elias

Put women and girls in the driving seat of decision-making during crises, the UN humanitarian chief has urged.

Stephen O'Brien spoke during a roundtable discussion Thursday on how to prioritize the rights of women and girls for a more effective response.

A World Humanitarian Summit is set to take place in Istanbul in May this year to develop a vision and a plan of action in order to save more lives.

Jocelyne Sambira reports.

Gender discrimination is often overlooked by governments and humanitarian actors, with serious implications for women and girls, says UN Women, quoting a report by the international development organization Plan International.

Girls are given less food when it's scarce, the report says, and boys are often treated better during rescue operations.

Meanwhile, the likelihood of women and girls getting raped or sexually exploited during natural disasters greatly increases.

Here's Stephen O'Brien, who is also the UN's Emergency Relief Coordinator.

"Women in crises and women civil society groups must be at the forefront of humanitarian decision-making.  And to support this, we call for more funding to go directly to these groups. By doing so, we will not only put women and girls in the driving seat of decision-making but we will also render our humanitarian programming more effective."

Mr O'Brien adds that humanitarian action must "live up to the needs and expectations of women and girls."

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 1’02″

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