The Women’s Refugee Commission was created in 1989 to ensure that the rights and needs of women, children, and youth displaced by conflict and crisis are taken into account in humanitarian programs.
Before then, refugee women and children were all but invisible. The Women’s Refugee Commission’s founders—Liv Ullmann, Catherine O’Neill, Susan Forbes Martin, and Susan Alberti—set about to change that. They were the first people to sit down with refugee women and ask them what they needed, what solutions they proposed. The feedback the refugee women shared formed the basis of the organization’s advocacy.
The Women’s Refugee Commission is a leading research and advocacy organization that works to advance gender equality and resilience across humanitarian response. Our groundbreaking work has led to transformative changes in humanitarian programming. As a result, refugee women, children, and youth now have greater access to sexual and reproductive health care from the very onset of an emergency. They are more likely to find safe, dignified work. Marginalized individuals, including displaced people with disabilities, are included in more programs and in making decisions that affect their lives. Preventing and responding to sexual and gender-based violence is now on the international agenda. And families and children seeking asylum in the United States have a fearless advocate looking out for their best interests.
The Women’s Refugee Commission also plays an important convening role. We partner with local and national organizations, humanitarian agencies, donors, and displaced persons to create a better world for refugees.
We remain committed to fighting for gender equality for displaced women and girls, and to leading a shift in humanitarian response—one that leverages refugees’ resilience and helps them realize their fullest potential.