Displacement Challenges of Syrian Refugee Women

By: Laila Soudi  

The Syrian Civil War created a mass exodus of people with more than half the country’s pre-war population currently displaced. The majority of refugees from the War fled to neighboring countries in the Middle East, including Jordan. This study explores the displacement challenges of Syrian women after seeking refuge in urban communities across Jordan. Methods: 20 open-ended interviews were conducted in 2014 with Syrian refugee women at NGOs, public spaces, or at refugees’ homes. Narrative research method analysis of the interviews was used by four researchers. Findings: Exposure to war events was reported by 94% of participants, with all reporting on their displacement challenges. As newly displaced women, they face housing difficulties, high cost of living, illegality of work, scarce economic resources, poverty, inability to admit their children to schools, hostility of locals, as well as hyper-attention to the events in Syria and the status of the family members they left behind. Many women reported experiencing loss--losing their country and identity--while others expressed longing to return to Syria, and many expressed feeling disappointed yet grateful for the hospitality of Jordanians. Interpretation: The needs of Syrian refugee women are enormous, especially in an already-overwhelmed, low-resource host country like Jordan.

displacement, refugee, syria
2019 Special Focus—Border Crossing Narratives: Learning from the Refugee Experience
Focused Discussion

Laila Soudi

Project Lead of Stanford Refugee Research Project