• GBV services accounted for just 0.12% of the $41.5 billion allocated for humanitarian funding from 2016-2018

  • Two-thirds of GBV requests went unfunded, even while research shows that requests are far from meeting need

  • IRC calls for funding levels to be tripled and announces its new feminist approach to deliver humanitarian aid

It is estimated that less than $2 in gender-based violence (GBV) services is allocated to each woman or girl at risk of GBV on average in crisis and conflict settings, according to new research by the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and Voice, released today. Where’s the Money? How the Humanitarian System is Failing to Fund an End of Violence Against Women and Girls found that violence against women and girls accounts for just 0.12% of all international humanitarian funding.

David Miliband, IRC President and CEO, said of the report’s findings: “Women in crisis will continue to be left behind as long as their most basic safety from sexual violence remains unaddressed. The continued lack of funding for GBV services reflects the deeply entrenched inequalities of power not just in the communities where we serve but in the humanitarian sector as well.”

Key findings include:

The report lays out five key recommendations: tripling funding levels, expanding GBV specialists, promoting partnerships with local women-led civil society organizations, improving the reporting and tracking of investments, and increasing transparency around donor investments.

The findings were shared by Miliband during a speech at Georgetown University today, where he argued that the violence and injustice faced by women and girls in humanitarian settings should be tackled at the source by addressing inequalities of power, which he said was the essential lesson of feminist thinking.  He said:

“The statistics show clearly that women and girls are doubly disadvantaged in humanitarian settings.  Our approach should be to try and create a double dividend: tackle the symptoms of disadvantage but also address the power structures that generate them.”

“We need to engage more systematically with the questions of power that are raised by feminist thinking. The evidence before our eyes, from our staff and clients in the places where we work, is that we will not be successful in delivering for our female beneficiaries until we address the inequalities of power they face, and to do that we need to address inequalities of power within our own organization.

“Put another way, we cannot be a truly successful humanitarian organization, defined by the outcomes achieved by and for our beneficiaries, until we are a feminist organization, with equality between our staff, opportunities and barriers never defined by their gender, and understanding of inequalities of power and what needs to be done to overcome them driving our programs externally.”

Miliband also highlighted some of the ongoing efforts by the IRC to adopt a feminist approach, including developing a Gender Equality Scorecard to measure progress towards recruiting and retaining female staff, establishing a culture of respect and support for female staff and beneficiaries, and enacting minimum standards for gender equality in the organization’s program quality assessment.

Miliband called on the humanitarian sector to:

Download the full report here. Download the speech here.