19 August 2019: A Celebration of Women Humanitarian Day

Written by Sekar Ningtyas Kinasih, Content Writer
Project Child Indonesia

On 19 August 2003,  it was a day, a moment– where the UN building located in Baghdad was struck by a massive bomb of the terrorist. At that time, there were about 22 people involved in humanitarian missions in Iraq regrettably become victims of death after the bomb attack, which Sergio Vieira de Mello, the UN’s top representative in the country has become one of the dead. Since then, every year the UN commemorates the loss by forming World Humanitarian Day. Besides, it is also reflected to show honor to each worker who risks their lives in humanitarian services and to gather aid for people who are facing crises all over the world.

This year, the United Nations is set up a campaign so-called Women Humanitarians to show appreciation for women’s contributions in making the world a better place. They believe if the phrase “unsung heroes” is entitled to be given to the women since they have been working on the front lines as first responders to crises that occurred within their communities and play a vital role in the survival of families and everyone who become the victims. The efforts of Humanitarian should realize that the fact of women or girls as same as like men and boys– have to participate in responding for all crises, without setting aside if women reserve the right to be a leader and decision-maker. 

“It’s very important for women to play a leadership role during emergencies. This can prevent serious violations like violence against women, including sexual violence and psychological violence. Women’s presence itself is a deterrence that safeguards women’s rights.” – Nadege Pierre (33), first responder in Hurricane Matthew’s response in Haiti (Oct 2016).

ActionAid organization that working for justice and poverty prevention in the world, has started to promote women’s leadership in emergency circumstances as they count on the fact that women make up 50% of populations, but oftentimes they excluded in taking part to determine their own future because of ‘gender blind’ still remained in humanitarian actions. This can be an interpretation that the access of women are rejected  to get protection and services that lead to the rise of gender-based violence and losing livelihoods. Beside that, the organization has been working for more than 45 countries and the reality shows that by putting women on the top notch position (leader), not only their livelihoods be sheltered, but also beneficial for wider community.

Women also noted as the largest number of gender who risk their own lives to save others. They are noted as frontline responders everytime crises and conflicts arise. Therefore Women Humanitarian Day need to be celebrated– as it becomes a basic line of UN Women establishment followed by 4 strategic priorities such as; 1) Women can lead, participate in and gain equal benefit from government; 2) Women deserve to have income security and decent work; 3) Ensure all women and girls live free from all kinds of violence; 4) Engage women and girls to participate and become a great influencer to create peace, resilience, benefit equally from the risk of disasters and humanitarian actions. Besides, the UN Women often collaborates and promotes the UN system’s work to all UN Member States (more than 60 countries) through set it up as global standards that is expected to be a potential in supporting Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and create a more inclusive world.