Wars, natural disasters and other emergencies affect women, girls, boys and men in profoundly different ways. Members of each group face different risks and are thus victimised in different ways, necessitating targeted interventions to address the various needs of all groups. The term ‘gender’ refers to the social differences between females and males that are learned throughout life. These differences are deeply rooted and varied within each culture and change over time. ‘Gender’ refers to the roles, power and resources for females and males in any culture whereas the term ‘sex’ refers to biological, physical and hence, ‘fixed’ characteristics. Gender roles vary widely within and between cultures, and depend on the particular social, economic and political context. To create truly inclusive and beneficial humanitarian interventions all people – women, girls, boys and men – must be taken into account.