International Rescue Committee (IRC)

She's First

She's First

She's first. Help her lead the way.

TAKE ACTION: Tell These Girls in Eastern Congo You Believe in Them on TakePart »

When crisis strikes, women and girls are the first to be harmed, the first to be marginalized, the first to be forgotten.

They are also the first to take their families to safety, the first to unite, the first to rebuild. Women and girls have the vision, strength and determination to transform their lives and create a path to peace, recovery and stability for their communities.

The IRC provides tools, training, and resources to protect women and girls from violence and enable them to move from surviving to thriving, in the U.S. and around the world.


LEARN MORE: Women's protection & empowerment at the IRC »

The Latest

She's First

  • Eighty percent of those fleeing persecution, conflict or natural disaster are women and children.
  • "A while ago, there was a woman in my neighborhood that had to have a C-section. I wanted to be able to help her and other women like her. That was when I decided I was going to become a surgeon.” -  Rosine, age 13, Vision Not Victim Project, Democratic Republic of Congo. Photo: Meredith Hutchison/IRC
  • In refugee camps along the Thailand-Myanmar border, the IRC provides women with free prenatal care and supplies medical care and birth certificates to their babies, helping to ensure they have a safe and healthy start to life.
  • Angel, in a blue headscarf, oversees the election of new leaders for an IRC-supported women’s group in South Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo. Participants, including survivors of violence and other vulnerable women, can access education and livelihoods support, and help drive community infrastructure projects. Photo: Lynsey Addario/VII
  • In Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, as many as 70 percent of farmers are women. Across the United States, the IRC’s New Roots program enables resettled refugees from these regions and elsewhere to use their agricultural skills to nourish themselves and their neighbors through community gardening.
  • Following record floods in Pakistan in 2010, the IRC provided women with training to become tailors. These women now sew clothing for neighbors in their villages and play an active role in rebuilding their communities.
  • IRC volunteer Rania (center) speaks with a fellow refugee at Jordan's Zaatari camp, home to some 120,000 people fleeing conflict in neighboring Syria. Rania meets with as many as 50 families per week, mostly women and children, helping them to access essential services in the camp. Photo: Peter Biro/IRC
  • The threat of sexual assault follows women long after they flee conflict or disaster. IRC staff provide individual emotional support and medical care to survivors and work with communities to address the roots causes of violence against women.

Explore how the IRC is helping to protect and empower women and girls: We provide lifesaving critical care during humanitarian emergencies. And in the aftermath of crisis, we offer empowerment programs to help women and girls rebuild their lives, families and communities — and thrive over the long term.

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How We Help