Women’s Empowerment Policies of NGOs in Istanbul: Experiences of Syrian Female Migrants

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 15:30
Oral Presentation
Migration has come to the forefront of global event in the last century. The number of migrants all over the world has reached to the highest rate since World War II. Women and children are the groups feeling deeply the effects of wars and migrations. By focusing on especially the problems of women, many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) tend to address the problems of migrants. Turkey faced the greatest mass migration movement as a result of civil war in Syria started in 2011. Due to the increasing conflict and war conditions, the number of female migrant is increasing swiftly and local, national and international NGOs in Turkey carry out relief works and projects for food, housing, medical, legal and psycho-social support for Syrian migrants including women. Although there are some studies conducted for analyzing the impacts of migration on Syrian females in Turkey by looking at their experiences, there is no study on the discourses and activities of NGOs on Syrian females from a gender sensitive approach. This study aims to fill this gap by responding to the questions of what are gender-based discriminations faced by Syrian females, which target NGOs set for struggling with these discriminations, what kind of activities are carried out to support empowerment of women and to what extent they are effective by focusing on the voices of both 10 Syrian females and 10 NGO representatives in Istanbul, Turkey through conducting in-depth interviews and collecting NGO documentation. Key argument of this study is that discourses and activities of NGOs are determinant on empowerment of women. Herein, while NGOs can support empowerment of women, in some instances they may hinder their empowerment sufficiently.