). The aid sector and
the environments in which it functions are often much more diverse in reality. Quite
apart from ‘the locals’, a vast array of less-privileged foreigners
(or ‘third country nationals’) play key enabling parts in the
humanitarian industrial complex but are left out of heroic white saviour
narratives. 5 Nationality
effectively becomes a shorthand for race, and non-white aid workers and their
experiences are invisibilised and
NGOs on the ground. But there needs to be more work to think about how these
principles apply to the realm of sexual abuse, harassment and assault. In
particular, organisations and individuals should be aware of the inherent power
imbalance between senior and junior members of staff, between donors and recipients,
between aid workers and the people they are helping.
Aid operates in a world that is shaped by race, gender and class – by racism
programmes and initiatives that claim to help and empower women.
This issue offers a rich contribution to our understanding of humanitarianism and the
ways in which it is structured by gendered logics and power relations, as well as
exploring how those gendered logics intersect with other power hierarchies, such as race
and sexuality. Elsewhere, feminist and gender-focused approaches to studying
humanitarianism have helped us better understand aspects of the sector, such as the
gendered concept of ‘care
Gender Equality and Culture in Humanitarian Action
Ricardo Fal-Dutra Santos
important topics or questions remain to be explored by further research, including
the practical ways in which humanitarianism can engage in gender-transformative
action, its complementarity to the longstanding work of feminist activists, and the
relationship between humanitarian action and other cultural identity factors, such
as race, ethnicity, class, caste, age, disability and legal status.
Building on Enloe (2004 : 4
International Development Studies ’,
in de Jong ,
S. , Icaza ,
R. and Rutazibwa ,
O. U. (eds), Decolonization and
Feminisms in Global Teaching and Learning ( London :
Routledge ), pp.
192 – 214 .
M. ( 2017 ),
Decolonising Intervention: International Statebuilding in Mozambique
( London : Rowman & Littlefield
G. ( 2016 ), White
Innocence: Paradoxes of Colonialism and Race ( Durham,
NC : Duke University Press ).
of the humanitarian lens or its
subjects as racialised (‘race’ does not even appear in the index,
while ‘gender’ has ten entries). 2
Fehrenbach’s theme sets the stage for one of the most influential episodes in
the twentieth century iconography of humanitarianism: Biafra. Heerten’s essay
on Biafra and Holocaust imagery in Humanitarian Photography
provides one of the case studies, but it is only a glimpse into the much broader
take on Biafra provided by
centuries of violence upon non-white populations in the name of the ‘enlightened spirit’, it would also be reworked into more racially sensitive and objective ways 6 . As liberal replaced race with culture and class with entitlement, so the advent of a globally ambitious claim to govern all planetary life could overcome all claims to sovereign integrity by appealing directly to the notion that underdevelopment was dangerous. While violence was therefore complex, since complex systems were less about linear root causes and more about states of dynamic connection and
Routledge ), pp. 153 – 68 .
Briggs , L.
( 2003 ), ‘ Mother, Child,
Race, Nation: The Visual Iconography of Rescue and the Politics of
Transnational and Transracial Adoption ’,
Gender & History , 15 :
2 , 179 – 200 .
Burman , E
discrimination as to nationality, race, religious beliefs,
class or political opinions. It endeavours to relieve the suffering of individuals, being guided
solely by their needs, and to give priority to the most urgent cases of distress’ ( ICRC, 2016 ). Other humanitarian codes of conduct contain
similar principles. Discrimination in humanitarianism is restricted to triage – where the
most effective intervention can be made on the basis solely of need.
Humanitarians might, of course, be less than assiduously moral in treating those whose lives
Corporations, Celebrities and the Construction of the Entrepreneurial
Annika Bergman Rosamond and Catia Gregoratti
( 2019 ), The Business of Women’s Empowerment
– Corporate Gender Politics in the Global South
( London : Rowman &
( 2019 ), ‘ #Refugees Can Be Entrepreneurs
Too!’ Humanitarian, Race and the Marketing of Syrian
refugees ’, Review of International