Women’s Leadership in Humanitarian Settings in Central America

Lara Seigneur, Jose Chacon

Abstract


During the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit last year, the global humanitarian community was abuzz around Local Humanitarian Leadership (LHL). Concrete commitments were made and reflected in the Grand Bargain as well as in the Charter for Change, proposing initial steps at the global level for a shift in power, knowledge and resources towards local humanitarian actors.  There has never been a more appropriate time to look at women’s leadership in the humanitarian sector, particularly at the local level, as women’s leadership is also about transforming power structures and systems.

We interviewed nine women leaders from Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua, from civil society organizations members of the CRGR, feminists, academics, and humanitarian managers who have successfully led emergency response teams. Through interviews with these nine highly experienced leaders, we identified the daily challenges they face in the course of their work, and how humanitarian trainings could better cater to their leadership development needs. By highlighting the perspectives of these few women leaders in Central America, we wish to develop guidance on how women’s leadership can be made more visible in humanitarian workshops and training materials, and how to make the challenges women leaders face in the humanitarian sector better understood. Despite the small number of interviews and the qualitative nature of this report, the findings may also offer insights for learning in other areas of the globe, such as Asia.


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