Resources to Promote a Gender Framework in Legal Aid

A gender framework includes considering the differential needs of and impact on girls, boys, men, and women as well as avoiding implicit stereotypes and assumptions. Using a gender framework in your legal aid program will benefit both your clients and your organization as you tackle difficult legal issues. The following are resources to help you build a framework in your legal aid program.

UNHCR’s “Ensuring Gender Sensitivity in the Context of Refugee Status Determination and Resettlement” contains a checklist on page 183-186 for gender sensitivity and a gender framework and procedural issues in the context of refugee status determination (RSD). It is a quick read with major pay off; it may help you quickly assess how “gender sensitive” your legal services are, including:

  • A general checklist
  • Before interview
  • During interview
  • Post interview

The Women’s Refugee Commission introduces the concept that economic empowerment (perhaps achieved through work rights-related legal aid) has been known to cause an increase in gender-based violence at home. They offer recommendations on how international organizations can respond to and prepare to mitigate this risk.

A helpful document in conceptualizing how the experiences of refugee boys and girls can differ is Gillian Mann’s paper on Congolese refugee boys’ and girls’ in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

UNHCR’s handbook for the Protection of Women and Girls shows how rights violations occur for refugees in some unusual ways, including:

  • Access to Information
  • Nationality, civil status and family relations
  • Personal liberty and security
  • Administration of justice
  • Health
  • Access to safe and quality education
  • Livelihoods and food security
  • Housing, land and property

Lastly, UNHCR’s Guidelines on Gender-Based Persecution helps to understand gender-related persecution and how to interpret the 1951 Refugee Convention using a gender framework.