Surge capacity is defined as the ability to scale-up (and down) resources smoothly and quickly, including getting the right people to the right places doing the right things in the shortest amount of time possible. The majority of humanitarian responses rely heavily on good surge practice and having people quickly in place to meet the immediate needs of affected populations. This paper asserts that the ‘right people’ means a gender balance in our surge practice and therefore more women in surge roles. Women make up half the population, and are disproportionately affected by disasters. In order to meet the needs of women affected by disasters, we must ensure that women are equally represented in humanitarian response teams.
As humanitarian agencies, we have a duty of care to surge practitioners and therefore must address the specific support needs of women on surge rosters if we are to ensure their ongoing and increasing participation in surge and emergency response.