'Uncertain livelihoods in refugee environments'

ISS PhD graduate Holly Ritchie has recently published a research report for the Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium.

The report examines the emerging economic activities, institutional dynamics, and key social trends of Syrian women refugees in Jordan.

The key findings include:

  • Significant numbers of Syrian women have been propelled into (informal) paid work, boosting women’s economic roles within their families as they assume new responsibilities as breadwinners. However, women’s economic empowerment rests on fragile foundations, as cultural attitudes within and outside the household hinder their work and safety;
  • Syrian women typically engage in individual, piecemeal work without the opportunity to scale up due to further fear of being detected by the authorities;
  • Local intimidation, inexperience and poor finances pose additional challenges for women wishing to engage in work;
  • For young women, early marriage appears to have increased - in part precipitated by family protection as well as the poor quality of local education available – and this limits present and future work opportunities.

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