August 19this World Humanitarian Day. This day celebrates the work of humanitarians and the vital role that they play around the world. “The day is commemorated each year on 19 August, in memory of the 22 people killed in a terrorist attackon the UN headquarters in Baghdad.” This year, its tenth official year, the UN is honouring women humanitarians. Tens of thousands of women risk their lives on a daily basis to support, assist, and act as first respondents amidst some of the darkest crises.
On August 16than open letter was signed by more than 300 women aid works and their allies, demanding that world leaders step up and do more to support the women and meet the needs of those who are caught up in conflict. An excerpt from the letter clearly defines why in particular these issues must be addressed. “Women caught up in disasters are sometimes portrayed as helpless victims and passive recipients of foreign kindness, but nothing could be further from the truth. Whether working for aid agencies, or supporting their families and their communities in other ways, local women and girls are the invisible face of recovery in some of the world’s most difficult places.” The letter continues, adding that while much has been done to rectify gender equality since the Beijing Declaration, the conversation needs to continue to address that many women and girls are left behind and need to be empowered and better protected. The upcoming G7 in Biarritz will hopefully provide that platform for world leaders to acknowledge and continue the steps in the right direction. Yet we can all make positive steps in our daily lives. By respecting all women and celebrating those women around us who put others first without question or reward, we can continue to close the gap of gender inequality.