Gender in maps

Aims and objectives

This report brings together learning from a review of both humanitarian and academic literature and also gender focused interviews with stakeholders from a range of humanitarian organisations. It aims to highlight the importance of taking gender into account in data collection and analysis and the opportunities this presents for better humanitarian decision making. It also explores the challenges and barriers to this effectively happening in practice and seeks to identify ways in which MapAction can contribute to better consideration of gender and collection of sex and age disaggregated data (SADD).

Before beginning the report it is important to define some key differences between sex, gender and gender identity.

  • 'Sex' refers to the biological attributes of a person (Sphere handbook, 2018).
  • “Gender” refers to the socially constructed differences between women and men throughout their life cycle. (Sphere handbook, 2018)
  • “Gender identity' is a person’s "deeply felt, internal and individual experience of gender, which may or may not correspond to the person’s physiology or designated sex at birth" (WHO 2021)

While the focus of this research is more broadly on gender, significant emphasis is placed on reference to the relevance of sex and age disaggregated data (SADD). It is important to recognise that there are multiple factors that influence an individual’s needs and vulnerabilities. Here the focus is mainly on gender (or sex) and because of the frequent reference to SADD also considers age to some extent. We acknowledge other characteristics such as disability, ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation also impact an individual’s vulnerability, but these are beyond the scope of this study.