Gender mainstreaming in humanitarian programmes with forced migrants is based on a belief that such an approach will lead to greater gender equality, while raising the status of women through their ’empowerment’. In this article, I focus on the activities of international and local humanitarian organisations in Kakuma refugee camp, Kenya. I argue that the concepts of ‘gender’ and ‘women’ are often over-simplified and essentialised in gender mainstreaming, and this results in programmes which not only exacerbate gender asymmetries, but may also place women at risk.
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