Master of Advanced Studies
in Humanitarian Logistics and Management


The Crucial Role of Women in Humanitarian Organisations - E.S.

The Role Of Gender In Humanitarian Logistics And Supply Chain Operations
by Eltegani Osama

This study deals with the role of gender in humanitarian logistics and supply chain operations. It aims to identify how female humanitarian logisticians and supply chain workers affect humanitarian aid operations, looking beyond the gender-specific characteristics which influence their performance, and given the many difficulties facing females in this field, as well as the difficulties facing humanitarian agencies employing females to work in this field.

The case study approach is used as the general framework, and to answer the questions raised, the descriptive and analytical methods were implemented. The study’s population includes three types of respondents: beneficiaries in Yemen, senior specialists and managers, and female humanitarian logisticians and supply chain workers. The interview and the questionnaire techniques were used to collect data from samples drawn from this population.

The main findings are that females are becoming of crucial importance in the humanitarian aid operations and the majority of the beneficiaries (who are females) prefer to interact with female logisticians and supply chain workers due to gender-specific reasons, in general. However, in certain cases, males are favored as humanitarian aid providers.

The cultural context is the major barrier for humanitarian agencies in employing females, despite the many positive capabilities of females in this discipline. Moreover, although the majority of females who work in humanitarian aid operations do not face major difficulties as logistics and supply chain workers, many of them attribute the difficulties they do face to the absence of gender-specific policy about their effectiveness.

The main conclusions and implications are that at times of crisis (usually at the primary stages) the priorities of receiving humanitarian aid alleviate the concerns about the type of (specifically gender-related) service providing the team. As well, the female-male differences should be considered carefully in decisions about logistics teams diversifying, assignments, and deployment to the field.


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