School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences

Women and humanitarian aid – a historisizing perspective


13-15 October 2021, Örebro University

Responses around the globe to the outbreak of the pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 have clearly shown that women are a force to be reckoned with during humanitarian crises. Last year, the World Humanitarian Day was especially dedicated to women humanitarians. More and more influential international actors stress the importance of the gender dimension in humanitarian aid, and recognize the role women play in dealing with humanitarian crisis. In order to reach a deeper understanding of humanitarian aid and address contemporary humanitarian crisis, there is a pronounced need to consider empirical knowledge produced from a historical point of view. In research on Swedish humanitarian efforts carried out inside as well as outside of Sweden during the 20th and early 21st century, women are very significant actors. Accordingly, the three-day symposium, that will take place at Örebro University in October 2021, puts women’s role in humanitarian aid center stage and is structured by the following overall questions:

  • What is the contribution of gender and rights-based perspective to humanitarianism?
  • In what way were Swedish humanitarian narratives and practices characterized by gender- and rights-based perspectives over time?
  • How can the Swedish examples be placed in an international perspective?

The aim with the symposium is to bring together researchers interested in Swedish humanitarian work and to establish an interdisciplinary network where humanitarianism in relation to gender and human rights can be discussed and problematized.

We invite you to attend the Zoom-lectures of our keynote speakers. 

Jr. Professor Katharina Stornig, Giessen University - Why we need to add women to humanitarian histories: archives, narratives and historical writing


Richard Allen, Framingham State University - Following the Dictates of Humanity: The British East India Company, Enslaved Children, Famine Relief, Native Hospitals, and Smallpox Vaccination, 1770s-1840s

Please register in advance with Emilie Holst, This is an email address

Last day to register: 11 October