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Australian Institute of International Affairs - National Office

Gender and Humanitarian Action

Tue, 9 Mar 2021
18:00 - 19:00

This is a hybrid in-person (Canberra) and online event jointly organised by the Australian Institute of International Affairs and the International Committee of the Red Cross. This is an evening event in Canberra at 6:00 PM AEDT (UTC+11), which is 8:00 AM in Geneva.

Dr Helen Durham AO FAIIA, Director of International Law and Policy, International Committee of the Red Cross

Dr Kamalini Lokuge, Senior Research Fellow & Lead, Humanitarian Health Research Initiative

Lisa Cornish, Senior Reporter, Devex

Moderated by Nancy Schneider, Editor, Australian Outlook

International Women’s Day provides an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women, acknowledge the specific challenges women face, and think critically about the ways in which these challenges can be addressed. Yet the challenges and experiences that are traditionally discussed as “female” often apply to people across the gender spectrum. In the humanitarian space, the aid that is both provided and received is most effective when these gendered needs and experiences are carefully considered and integrated into action. Women and gender-diverse people remain underrepresented as humanitarian actors, and there is great potential for delivering humanitarian assistance that better meets the specific needs of women, girls, and other vulnerable groups in conflict and disaster situations.  

This panel discussion will focus on the ways in which gender impacts the provision and receipt of humanitarian aid.  We will consider the roles and unique contributions of female and gender-diverse humanitarian actors. We will explore the impacts of gender-based violence in conflict settings and the challenges in creating gender-sensitive strategies for preventing and responding to such violence.  Finally, we will look at the ways in which experiences and responses to health crises are gendered, and end with thoughts on the official theme of International Women’s Day 2021, “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world.”

About the speakers:

 Dr Helen Durham is Director of International Law and Policy at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) headquarters in Geneva. In her role she oversees a large global network of international lawyers, policy advisers, armed forces and police delegates, weapons specialists, sociologists, researchers and academic experts who work towards the respect of international humanitarian law (IHL). 

Admitted as a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Victoria and High Court of Australia, Dr Durham previously worked as the Legal Adviser for the ICRC Regional Delegation for the Pacific and was Head of Office for ICRC Australia. She has also acted as Director of Research for the Asia Pacific Centre for Military Law. She is widely published on IHL topics, having been involved in ICRC operational work in the field (in Myanmar, Aceh, the Philippines and the Pacific) and part of negotiations for international treaties in New York, Geneva and Rome.


 Dr Kamalini Lokuge is an expert in public health responses to humanitarian crises. Dr Lokuge leads the Humanitarian Research Program at Research School of Public Health at Australian National University. Her appointment follows the work of her previous positions as a doctor and medical epidemiologist for international health organisations including Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF/Doctors Without Borders), the World Health Organisation, and the International Committee of the Red Cross. She was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for her work in 2010.

Dr Lokuge's experience on the ground in Afghanistan, Darfur, Uganda, Nigeria, Myanmar, South Sudan, Zambia, Congo Brazzaville, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia gives her a unique perspective on the connection of public health response in complex settings. Dr Lokuge has provided medical care and epidemiological services on the ground over the last decade in humanitarian emergencies namely the Ebola outbreaks across West Africa.


 Lisa Cornish is a Senior Reporter based in Canberra, where she focuses on the Australian aid community. Lisa formerly worked with News Corp Australia as a data journalist for the national network and was published throughout Australia in major metropolitan and regional newspapers, including the Daily Telegraph in Melbourne, Herald Sun in Melbourne, Courier-Mail in Brisbane, and online through news.com.au. Lisa additionally consults with Australian government providing data analytics, reporting and visualization services. Lisa was awarded the 2014 Journalist of the Year by the New South Wales Institute of Surveyors.


Nancy Schneider is the Content and Communications Manager for the AIIA National Office and the Editor of the AIIA's daily online publication, Australian Outlook.  Nancy holds a Masters of International Relations from the Australian National University.



Please register to attend this event in person at the AIIA National Offices at Stephen House or to watch online. Registrations close at 4pm AEST on the day of the event.

Register by clicking the "get tickets" button below.

If you have registered for an "in person" ticket, please note that COVID-19 safety measures in line with the ACT Government's guidelines will be in place. 

If you have registered for an "online" ticket you will  receive a follow-up confirmation email by 4:30pm on the day of the event containing further details on how to join the webinar. If you do not receive an email by 5:00pm, please check your junk folder. The event will start at 6pm AEST (Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne time, UTC+10).

Ticket Type Price
AIIA Member - in person $0.00 Sale Ended
AIIA Member - online $0.00 Sale Ended
Non-member - in person $0.00 Sale Ended
Non-member - online $0.00 Sale Ended
AIIA National Office
32 Thesiger Ct, Deakin ACT 2600, Australia

32 Thesiger Court, Deakin, Australian Capital Territory, 2600, Australia

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