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Offer: Call For Papers: Gender & Development: "Gender And Humanitarian Work"

The July 2012 issue of the international journal Gender & Development, (published for Oxfam GB by Routledge/Taylor and Francis) will look at Gender and Humanitarian Work...Disasters and their impact represent critical barriers to the transformation of gender relations and the achievement of women‘s rights, and to the achievement of development goals more generally...Humanitarian and development policymakers and practitioners, and researchers, are all invited to share insights in this issue of Gender & Development. Deadline for abstracts/proposed ideas: October 21, 2011.

Disasters, whether due to human activity (such as conflict) or the result of uncontrollable natural hazards, whether sudden or with a long gestation, are becoming ever more frequent, extreme, and of larger scale. With increased frequency – particularly of natural hazards – the capacity of people to recover from disaster is being eroded. In addition, the distinctions between disasters brought about by armed conflict and other human activity, and those brought about by natural events are increasingly blurred, complicating efforts on the part of agencies providing humanitarian aid to respond. Those who live in poverty, those who are least able to prepare for and recover quickly from disasters, and often those who are often least responsible for their causes, pay the price of such upheavals and tragedies. Disasters and their impact represent critical barriers to the transformation of gender relations and the achievement of women‘s rights, and to the achievement of development goals more generally.

It is now commonly acknowledged that men and women contribute differently and are affected differently by such events. In addition, other factors such as age, class, (dis)ability, marital status, estrangement from the wider community, and membership of a marginalized ethnic, religious, or economic group also shape the way women and men experience disaster, and how easily they are able to rebuild their lives in its aftermath. In the ten years that have passed since Gender & Development last looked at gender and humanitarian work, humanitarian responses have increasingly come to recognise this, and how women and men bring different resources, capacities, and life experience to a disaster situation, as well as different needs and priorities in terms of the assistance that they feel they need.

Guidelines, toolkits, and comprehensive indicators to integrate a gender perspective have been developed by international agencies involved in humanitarian response. In addition, UN SCR 1325 and other initiatives have brought attention to the role that women do – and should – play in longer term post-conflict reconciliation and peace-building. Finally, there has been an acceptance that in some cases, staff working for agencies in emergency situations have abused their position by engaging in sexual exploitation of women and children, and some action taken on this front.

Despite all these positive developments, gender has remained an under-addressed area in the humanitarian responses to many recent disasters, often seen as something to be dealt with ‘later’, that is irrelevant to the immediate, post-disaster response. In addition, gender-based and sexual violence remain prevalent in post-disaster settings. This issue of Gender & Development seeks to explore some of the reasons behind this lack of progress, as well as how humanitarian work has changed over the past ten years, in regard to meeting the different needs of women and men in disaster situations, and promoting gender equality.

Please send a paragraph outlining your proposed idea for an article to this issue to jhoare@oxfam.org.uk, as soon as possible, and before the commissioning deadline: 21 October 2011. If we are able to offer space for your contribution, we will write to you by 26 October to say so. Commissioned articles will need to be completed for a deadline of 7 January 2012.

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