How the international community is failing Syrian women refugees

The brutal conflict in Syria continues to fuel the biggest global refugee crisis since World War II. Millions of Syrians have seen their communities torn apart by violence and have been forced to flee to neighbouring countries and beyond, propelled into poverty and destitution. I have seen for myself the exhaustion and desperation of Syrian refugees arriving on the shores of Greece after risking their lives to cross the Mediterranean; the despair of families in Lebanon struggling to survive as the local infrastructure struggles to cope. Women refugees face particular challenges in trying to support themselves and their families. Often the primary carers for children and elderly relatives, women’s freedom to pursue job opportunities are more limited than men’s. The threat of violence and intimidation is intensified by displacement, while lack of educational opportunity blights the lives of their children and further undermines women’s participation in the job market.

We tend to hear little of the everyday struggles of Syrian women to survive and build a future for their children. Their stories are usually crowded out by a plethora of other humanitarian and security challenges in the Middle East. This report aims to bring women’s voices to the fore, and to shine a light on their invisible lives.


Islamic Relief UK (2016) Invisible Lives, Islamic Relief UK, London, UK.



Programmes Report








Conflict Transformation, Gender Justice, Islamic Relief, Syria