Female volunteers are an important and increasingly recognized part of the volunteer workforce. They contribute to a variety of programs, which address many development challenges such as health and social care, education, agriculture, protection, and economic empowerment.
Female Volunteers in Disaster Response
Women are an integral part of disaster responses in the global South, where they play a crucial role in responding to emergency situations and assisting people. For example, in the Elazig earthquake of January 2020, female volunteers were credited with saving the life of a female victim who was trapped under rubble after being injured.
Despite these impressive contributions, female volunteers still represent a small proportion of disaster-response organisations across the world. The following analysis explores the reasons behind this difference and suggests some strategies for increasing the number of female volunteers in these sectors.
One possible explanation for the gender gap in volunteering is societal norms and expectations. In the United States, for instance, men are conditioned to think that they should devote all their time to providing for themselves, while women often have family and other responsibilities.
The same may be true in other societies, where women are viewed as more submissive than men and, therefore, are less likely to stand up for their rights. Similarly, female volunteers are sometimes subjected to discrimination and harassment.
For some, this can be frustrating or even impossible to deal with. For others, it can be empowering to be part of an initiative that makes a difference in the lives of others.
Help Survivors Recover
Female volunteers in this area work directly with survivors of sexual abuse, and assist with the healing process by working as a safe haven for them during their recovery from trauma and restoring their confidence. They also provide assistance with day-to-day tasks and help to regain their independence.
Be a Mentor and Role Model for Girls
Volunteers who work in this field are responsible for helping girls to discover their inner strengths and passions, and empowering them to become leaders and changemakers. They could be involved in programs such as the Girl Scouts, Girls Inc., or Girls for a Change, and make a huge impact on the lives of young women.
They can also work in a community centre or help to set up youth groups and workshops. They are an important part of a community’s safety net and can play an invaluable role in reducing the risk of violence against women.
Flexible roles encourage female volunteers
Data suggests that female volunteers are more likely to volunteer if they can tailor their volunteering to fit their own personal needs and preferences. This can be due to the organisation being flexible themselves or the role they are volunteering for.
This is especially true for those who are new to volunteering or those who may have limited experience. In such cases, flexible volunteering options can be a great way to get to know the organisation and meet like-minded volunteers without having to commit too much of their own time.