During humanitarian crises, women face disproportionate discrimination and violence. Over half of the nearly 90 million people displaced worldwide are women. Globally, approximately 65 million girls and women need humanitarian assistance and 450 million live in fragile settings. But through the International Rescue Committee’s work in forty countries, from Afghanistan to Somalia, Pakistan to Colombia, we also know that women are at the forefront of delivering aid and essential services to people who are impacted by conflict and disaster. Women from all different backgrounds serve as first responders, humanitarians, activists, advocates, changemakers, and peacebuilders. 

While women are taking action at all levels, their voice, agency, and participation are under-supported, under-resourced, under-valued and under-recognized. Inclusive and diverse feminist leadership is key to sustained global development as the world continues to confront urgent challenges. 

This International Women’s Day, we are inspired by the work of women from different backgrounds around the world—including our own committed leaders at the IRC. We’d like to introduce you to three today: 

The IRC is committed to being an organization that takes a feminist approach to humanitarian policy and practice and to understanding the unique inequalities faced by girls and women in the world’s most challenging places. Every day, the choices we make are guided by this core foundation of our identity. The IRC aims to be a solutions-oriented organization that prioritizes gender, diversity, equality, and inclusion (GEDI) in our programming for and with our clients and partners—as well as in our internal structures and policies. Our annual progress report shares key GEDI initiative updates, with a particular focus on our regions and offices, including the launch of IRC’s GEDI Action Plan, a milestone global IRC people survey, and developments on leadership diversity, strategic investments, and partnership goals.  

The IRC recognizes the importance of welcoming and empowering women from different backgrounds with an equal voice. We aim to push against bias, maximize power for the communities we serve, enable women access to platforms that amplify their voices, and build a more equitable workplace. On International Women’s Day and every day, we affirm our support for women everywhere.