Achieving Gender Equality in Humanitarian Assistance: A Contest of Athena and Poseidon


Rathnamalala, Hasini. 2016. "Achieving Gender Equality in Humanitarian Assistance: A Contest of Athena and Poseidon." Sri Lanka Journal of International Law 25.

Author: Hasini Rathnamalala


The aim of this article is to analyze the legal protection of gender equality in humanitarian assistance. The objective of the research is to examine the adequacy of applicable legal framework that governs humanitarian assistance, particularly, that which is applicable to Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) while engaged in humanitarian assistance. The analysis of the aforesaid area of law is carried out in order to identify and clarify the nature of the accountability measures for NGOs while identifying the gaps both in theoretical legal framework as well as in its practical applicability. As to how gender in humanitarian assistance can be described as a contest between Athena, representing wisdom and the feminine and God Poseidon who represents the strength and power of masculinity, the author frames the discussion of humanitarian assistance within the myth of the founding of Athens. This story contrasts Poseidon's salt water spring with the sustainability of Athena's olive tree. In the same manner, when providing humanitarian assistance, NGOs should recognize and incorporate a gender equality dimension in order to achieve a holistic and qualitative outcome from their services.

Topics: Gender, Masculinity/ies, Femininity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Humanitarian Assistance, NGOs

Year: 2016

© 2024 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at