Women’s Economic Empowerment in Protracted Crisis: Syrian Refugee Women in Southeastern Turkey

Publication Date: 01/10/2020

As Syrian refugee crisis entered its ninth year, the protracted nature of the crisis has become more prominent, with the need of better integration of humanitarian response and development goals. Livelihoods activities with their long-term focus play an important role in humanitarian development nexus. This research is conducted to review and discuss best practices and potential risks for women’s economic empowerment (WEE) projects in protracted crisis in general, and in southeastern Turkey context in particular. The following report should be of interest to any humanitarian organization that conducts livelihoods projects for Syrian refugees in SET region, and that shares the commitment to achieve a more gender-equal society.
In general, women face additional social obstacles to reach economic resources, which span from unpaid care work to gender norms regarding women’s being provider. Majority of Syrian women in Turkey are not actively seeking employment because of their childcare responsibilities, not getting permission to work from either their husband or extended family, care of disable and elderly in the household, and housework. Designing a livelihoods program without considering these additional obstacles women face means that the program is not equally approachable for all genders. Hence, women are the ones left behind as they are the less employable. This research clearly shows that the only way to have a sustainable impact on WEE is to ensure not only women’s economic advancement but also women’s empowerment and gender equality.