According to the report, the IRC is committing to invest 25% of its humanitarian assistance through cash relief by 2020. The decision comes as the value of tangible currency is reassessed as unparalleled in empowering all people - men, women and children - when they most need it. The report focuses on the needs of "women and girls, facing heightened risks of violence and exploitation", arguing that cash helps to narrow the gender gap and as a payment that establishes a fundamental level of equality.
Indeed, it is because of this sense of equality that cash users feel free to make decisions themselves. The report revealed IRC findings on how "cash has the potential to increase a girl’s autonomy" helping them avoid dangerous activities and violence. Positive responses to the program include increased respect from the participants' family, empowering them as household decision makers.
“I still ask my husband for financial decisions. But one change is that before I had to ask permission to go out and now I just let him know that I am leaving.”
"Women and girls affected by humanitarian crisis are exposed to heightened risks of violence and exploitation. It is therefore vital that emergency response prevents violence and empowers women and girls to improve their own well-being and that of their families and communities.
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) has committed to gender equality and to ensure our programmes narrow the gap in outcomes between women and men, girls and boys. Alongside this we have made a commitment to increasing the use of cash relief programmes.
Cash relief can play a role in women’s empowerment in emergencies and, when delivered in the right way, it can reduce gender inequalities and violence. Having cash in their hands can boost women’s self-confidence, increase their household decision-making power and reduce finance-related household tensions."