Women in the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) are involved in every aspect of humanitarian assistance including caring for the wounded, visiting prisoners of war, and promoting international humanitarian law among armed groups. Most humanitarian organizations strive for greater gender balance among their field staff - and the ICRC is no exception.
Although it took until 1961 for the ICRC to appoint its first female delegate, today roughly 40 percent of all ICRC staff working in the field are women.
This illustrated video features Sitara -- a colleague from Geneva, who started out working for the ICRC in 2005, after a devastating earthquake hit northwestern Pakistan. In recounting her efforts to convince armed tribal leaders to let her meet with the women of a village that had been hard-hit by the quake, she also tells a story that encompasses some of the complications and challenges women face as humanitarians.
"And finally I intervened and said, 'listen, if you want to kill us, you all have guns and you might as well kill us here.'"
Her honesty, bravery, and dedication should serve as an inspiration to all humanitarians, women and men alike.