Refugees and Gender: Challenges for Travel, Border-Crossing and Security in the 21st Century
RC31 Sociology of Migration
According to the UNHCR’s Global Trends 2015, an unprecedented 65.3 million people have been forced from their homes; this includes nearly 21.3 million refugees. While refugees claim much global attention today, women refugees do not. Despite policy changes aimed at addressing the 1951 Refugee Convention’s gender blindness and fulfilling women’s ‘special needs’, the process for seeking refuge and resettlement remains unchanged, retaining a primarily ‘male’ paradigm (Doreen 1987). This systemic lack of gender sensitivity has gravely affected the framing of research concerning refugees. Although women are over-represented among refugee and displaced populations, they are a minority among asylum claimants, reflecting gender barriers to exit, gender-related violence during migration and criteria for attaining refugee status that favor men (Freedman 2007).
This session focuses on gender-related persecution and gendered asylum procedures affecting asylum-seekers and refugees worldwide. It seeks to explore how gender structures both cross-border refugee movement and the process leading to the attainment of (or the failure to attain) refugee status in pre-settlement situations, including practices of refugee determination, the social organization of aid, and life in/outside refugee camps or in urban/rural areas in transit countries, particularly in Middle Eastern, African and Asian countries.
Abstracts may include, but are not limited to, the following topics:
- implications of gender in refugees’ and asylum applicants’ decision-making processes and flight
- men's and women's experiences of persecution and dreams of escape
- implications of gender in border securitization, enforcement, and policing
- how intermediary structures (like smugglers/traffickers, faith-based advocacy groups/communities) that help or hinder border-crossing address gender.
See more of: RC31 Sociology of Migration
See more of: Research Committees