Solving the Refugee Crisis by Empowering Women
Today, more and more are being forced out of their homes by violence. Now, there are now more refugees than there have been at any time since World War II. Conflict around the world has displaced families, especially impacting women and children. Africa and the Middle East have been hit particularly hard.
Women in The Refugee Crisis
Millions of people around the world have been forced from their homes – over 40 million in 2016 alone. More than 12 million Syrians – more than half of the country’s population, have been forcibly displaced. According to NPR, about 5 million of these individuals have fled to neighboring countries.
More than half of the world’s refugees are children, often fleeing alone. Many refugees are women who have lost their entire families and communities. Unfortunately, however, what they face when they arrive in their new land is often horrific.
Even after fleeing conflict in their homeland, women and children refugees face high risks of violence. Many fear everyday activities, like showering and going to the latrine, due to the risk of being attacked.
The UN has launched projects aimed at ending violence against female refugees. However, despite these efforts, conditions for refugee women remain harsh. In fact, more than one in five refugee women face gender-based violence.
The UN Refugee Agency has expressed concerned about abuse of refugees in their new homelands.
Particularly, women and children face heightened risk. Just in the past year, there have been hundreds of incidences of gender-based violence inflicted on female refugees. Many of these complaints arose from women arriving in the Greek Islands. Specifically, women reported that they were exposed to sexual harassment and attempted sexual attacks.
Even after they flee conflict, poverty and abuse in their homelands, women refugees often face ongoing violence and discrimination. This creates ongoing negative impacts in the refugee community, which only makes the crisis worse.
As a result, empowering women who live as refugees is critical to solving the ongoing crisis.
Female Refugee Entrepreneurs Create Economic Opportunity
Female refugees face extreme challenges. Like most others in their situation, women who are displaced by violence often suffer physical and mental injury. However, even among women refugees who find safety in their new homes, challenges remain.
For example, many women who arrive to Europe and North America as refugees are unprepared to provide for their families economically. However, with just a little bit of training and support, female refugees can create economic opportunity.
Women entrepreneurs create jobs and contribute to their local economies.
According to Forbes, women entrepreneurs also do more for their communities than many of their male counterparts. In fact, women more commonly reinvest in social programs with the profits from their businesses.
When considering the refugee community, these social benefits are even more precious. As a result, promoting female entrepreneurship in has real economic and social benefits in the refugee community.
Progress is Only Possible Through Support
When considering the refugee crisis, many people think of it as a far-away problem. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Refugees, just like all of us, are merely looking for a safe and healthy place to live. For individuals displaced by violence, this is not possible without support.
Supporting refugee women, particularly by providing education and training, is a critical step towards solving the refugee crisis. Lady Jamileh Kharrazi supports several initiatives aimed at empowering women.
From increasing educational opportunities to building economic empowerment, Lady Jamileh ( جمیله خرازی )understands that solving the world’s problems starts by solving the issues predominantly affecting women.