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IASC Gender Marker Tip Sheet: Water Sanitation Hygiene (WASH)

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WHY DOES GENDER EQUALITY MATTER IN EMERGENCY WASH INTERVENTIONS?

Conflicts and natural disasters affect women, girls, boys and men differently; they face different risks and are victimised in different ways. Humanitarian actors should understand these differences and ensure that services and aid delivered assist all segments of the population and do not put some at risk. Beyond the obvious importance of meeting basic sanitation needs and preventing disease, access to adequate and appropriate WASH facilities plays an important role in the protection and dignity of displaced individuals, particularly girls and women. Providing water and sanitation facilities alone will not guarantee their optimal use nor will it necessarily improve public health. Only a gender and age-sensitive, participatory approach at all stages of a project can help ensure that an adequate and efficient service is provide. In order for a WASH project to have a positive impact on public health, women, girls, boys and men of all ages must be equally involved in project design.

Projects that analyse and take into consideration the needs, priorities and capacities of both the female and male population are far more likely to improve the lives of affected populations. The IASC Gender Marker is a tool that codes, on a 2-0 scale, whether or not a humanitarian project is designed to ensure that women/girls and men/boys will benefit equally from it, and that it will contribute to increasing gender equality. A full description of the IASC Gender Marker and its application can be found in the Gender Marker Overview Tip Sheet.