Looking at forced migration from a gender perspective provides insight into a number of issues relating to the planning and implementation of humanitarian assistance. Conflict and disasters impact differently on men and women. It cannot be assumed that their needs and interests are the same, nor that those of women or of men are the same everywhere. A gender approach then requires project planning to be based on an understanding of the varied contexts in which interventions are implemented. An important conclusion emerging from this collection is the danger of taking a broad-brush approach to the design of assistance programmes and of deploying models and guidelines which are insensitive to local contexts or uninformed by research and analysis of these contexts. The articles in this issue have relevance for four important questions in particular: the impact of interventions on processes of social change, the management of camps for refugees and displaced persons, sexual violence against women, and the implementation of international conventions and guidelines on the rights of (especially women) refugees and IDPs.