Towards inclusion and integration? Syrian refugee women’s fragile new livelihoods in Jordan

Holly A Ritchie

Type: Authors, Briefing Paper, Holly Ritchie, Jordan

Date: 03/03/2017

Full summary

Jordan is at a critical juncture in its response to the Syrian refugee crisis. Emergency and survival needs are gradually being met, yet Syrian refugees still lack sufficient opportunities to engage in safe and adequate livelihoods that may permit refugee families to thrive.

With formal surveillance of refugee men, increasing numbers of Syrian refugee women have taken on new economic roles, contributing to household incomes. However, without legal and social protection, women’s new roles and responsibilities – which transgress traditional gender norms – remain highly precarious.


Key findings include:

  • For young women, early marriage rates are higher among Syrian refugee women in Jordan than in Syria influencing both education, and present and future work opportunities
  • Recent international agreements have extended opportunities to engage in legal employment (Jordan Compact, 2016), but further legislation is needed to provide safe access to work with legal protection, especially for women
  • Aid programmes should seek to better understand local contexts, and be directed towards improving community and family attitudes, and local protection, particularly related to girls’ education, early marriage and women’s work
  • As new allowances are agreed around refugee social organisation, agencies should support joint enterprise development through the formation of women’s groups, and facilitating access to credit and business support services.


The full report on which this briefing is based, Uncertain livelihoods in refugee environments: between risk and tradition for Syrian refugee women in Jordan, is available to download here.