Syrian Women and the Refugee Crisis: Surviving the Conflict, Building Peace, and Taking New Gender Roles
Methodology and Purpose Statement
2. Humanitarian Crisis of Syria
2.1. Facts and Figures
2.2. International Refugee Law and the Obligation of State Parties
being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.
3. The Women Refugees of Syria
3.1. Challenges of the Journey
“After living through the horrors of the war in Iraq and Syria these women have risked everything to find safety for themselves and their children. But from the moment they begin this journey they are again exposed to violence and exploitation, with little support or protection”.
3.2. Gender-Based Violence
3.3. Inefficient and Insufficient Healthcare
3.4. Early Marriage
3.5. Refugee Camps and Humanitarian Relief through a Gender Perspective
4. Fight for Survival by Refugee Women
4.1. Finding a Home
4.2. New Gender Roles
4.3. Resilience through Education
“A girl needs her education. If I had been educated, I’d be able to provide for my family in this situation. A boy can find work in places a girl can’t. To work, she needs to have her education.”.
4.4. Voice in Peace Talks
5.1. Taking Notes from History
5.2. The Lessons of War on Gender
- The African Union Commission introduced its five year Gender, Peace, and Security Programme in June 2014 in order to promote women’s participation and protection in conflict and post-conflict situations across the continent. The programme was designed to provide a framework for the development of strategies and mechanisms for facilitating women’s participation for the promotion of peace and security (Abdulmelik 2016).
- Twenty years after the Rwandan genocide, in the year 2013, their parliament had the highest ratio of female parliamentarians in the world standing at astonishing 63.8 percent (UN Women 2017).
- In 2006, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was elected Liberia’s first female President. She was the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize as well. Her ten yearlong Presidency faced the challenge of re-building a country savaged by civil war, corruption, debts, and finally the deadly Ebola outbreak (Forbes Magazine 2016).
- In Afghanistan, the 2014 presidential and provincial elections saw an all-time high, 300 women stood as candidates for provincial councils. At present there are 69 female MPs in Afghanistan, i.e., 27.7 percent of a total of 249. Though the country is still in the grip of several forms of conflicts, it is seen a positive change that is anticipated of bringing peace to the region (Calfas 2015).
- The constitutional reforms that came after Kenya’s post-election violence in 2008 gave women the opportunity to bring constitutional gender specific reforms and strengthen the constitutional provisions (Kanyinga and Long 2012).
5.3. Policy Recommendation
Conflicts of Interest
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I would like to mention here that I do acknowledge that there are multiple genders and not just women. They all face different kinds of violence and struggles. The challenges faced by men are different from those seen by women or transgender. This paper only tries to highlight this very point that the experience of armed conflicts is different for different genders and hence a gender inclusive approach is what we need for policy framing and peace.
These figures mentioned in this section of the paper are subject to change as the data gets updated every other day. My purpose of mentioning these numbers here is just to highlight the severity of this refugee crisis.
Countries like Hungary, which have although provided resettlement to Syrian refugees, are not really receptive towards them and have protested against their influx. They are capable of providing far more resettlements than they actually have.
The work of these organizations must be appreciated as otherwise these women would have had no idea about the availability of the resources and also they would have not recognized their own capabilities.
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Asaf, Y. Syrian Women and the Refugee Crisis: Surviving the Conflict, Building Peace, and Taking New Gender Roles. Soc. Sci. 2017, 6, 110. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci6030110
Asaf Y. Syrian Women and the Refugee Crisis: Surviving the Conflict, Building Peace, and Taking New Gender Roles. Social Sciences. 2017; 6(3):110. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci6030110Chicago/Turabian Style
Asaf, Yumna. 2017. "Syrian Women and the Refugee Crisis: Surviving the Conflict, Building Peace, and Taking New Gender Roles" Social Sciences 6, no. 3: 110. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci6030110