Women and Girls at Risk

Remember intersectionality? Even people impacted by a crisis are impacted differently based on the intersection of social categories like race, religion, class, and gender. This applies even to whole countries. For example, lower income countries are more likely to be impacted by the refugee crisis. According to the World Economic Forum, 84% of the world’s refugees are hosted by low and middle-income countries. High-income countries often speak the loudest when it comes to refugee policy, but carry the lightest burden.

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Want to see the in-depth VICE episode about the resistance of the EU to accept more refugees and the underground network that has grown in response?

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So what’s the big problem? Poor and middle-income countries are forced to house millions of refugees and migrants, resulting in a cycle of poverty. Women and girls are the most vulnerable to this cycle, and the increasing level of instability results in dangerous consequences. Syrian refugees in Jordan are marrying off their young daughters in a bid to provide them with financial stability. This has caused the number of child brides to skyrocket. Forty-four percent of all Syrian brides were between the age of 13 and 17, a number which continues to rise. Child marriage has a devastating impact on girls, and even more so on refugee girls because these marriages are unregistered and short-term. This leaves refugee girls with little protection for themselves or their children.

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Women and girls are experiencing gender-based violence, including child marriages, at alarming rates. It is difficult to estimate how often women and girls experience violence during their journey because they’re forced to travel illegally. But we do know that the highest rate of violence occurs when women and girls are traveling to a different country for refuge.

In response to the hidden nature of this issue, a group of Syrian women launched a magazine aptly titled “The Road” to document the lives of all who reside in their refugee camp. Along the way, they’ve taught journalism and trained more than 120 reporters.

Read on to learn more about the not-so-surprising gaps in education and what needs to change: