Women, Vulnerability, and Humanitarian Emergencies

Authored by: Fionnuala Ní Aoláin

Categories: Humanitarian Emergencies
Sub-Categories: Human Development, Migration, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV)
Region: No Region
Year: 2011
Citation: Ní Aoláin, Fionnuala. "Women, Vulnerability, and Humanitarian Emergencies." Michigan Journal of Gender and Law 18, no. 1 (2011): 1-23.

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Executive Summary

Part I of this Article seeks to explore the particular vulnerabilities experienced by women in the context of humanitarian emergencies. Drawing on Fineman’s theoretical framework describing the inevitability of vulnerability, I set out the way in which a shift in thinking about inevitable dependencies in the international context of humanitarian emergencies might realign our understanding of and response to gendered vulnerabilities. Part II identifies the structural limitations and biases inherent in prevailing humanitarian crisis responses and maps them onto the masculinities inherent in the standard operating procedures employed by international organizations and the cadre of experts that typically offer solutions to the society in crisis. Part III outlines the importance of realizing security in the context of humanitarian crisis and articulates a vision of gendered security that may be capable of superseding the inherent limitations of current constructions. The conclusion reflects on the limits of current international legal obligations in addressing women’s harms and needs in the context of humanitarian crises.