Women are impacted differently by armed conflict, displacement, and statelessness. However, humanitarian and peace and stability operations rarely account for these differences. This results in limited access for women and girls to basic services and protection. Refugees International’s Women & Girls Program is committed to holding the United Nations, humanitarian actors, donor nations, and host governments accountable on meeting the diverse needs of women displaced by conflict and crises.
Both short- and long-term displacement have lasting, negative impacts on families and individuals. The stresses of displacement tend to lead to an increase in sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), with insufficient mechanisms for assistance. Displaced women living in poverty are often unable to leave violent partners on whom they depend for survival. They may also be forced into transactional sex to support their families, or they may become victims of trafficking. In many areas, sexual violence has become systematic and is used as a tool of war. Furthermore, traditional support mechanisms are often lost during conflict and displacement, leaving women at greater risk, compounding existing discrimination, and placing greater burdens on women as heads-of-household.
In situations where women are not granted equal rights to acquire, change, retain or transmit nationality, they and their children may be at risk of statelessness. Stateless women have great difficulty accessing protection if they are abused because of their lack of official documents, yet few services have been established to include them.
Whether working with stateless, internally-displaced, or refugee women and children, we stand committed to advocating for improved protection and prevention mechanisms. We push for a comprehensive humanitarian response that guarantees access to basic rights of food, water, shelter, education, and safe spaces that meet the unique needs of women and children.