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In times of displacement, women and girls face an increased risk of discrimination and gender-based violence.

UNHCR works to prevent this by ensuring fair aid distribution, access to safe shelters and facilities, and helping women overcome barriers to education and employment.
Democratic Republic of Congo / Burundian refugees

In some societies, women and girls face discrimination and violence every day, simply because of their gender. An ordinary task like collecting water or going to the toilet can put them at risk of rape or abuse.

In times of displacement, this problem escalates. Women and girls make up around 50 per cent of any refugee, internally displaced or stateless population, and those who are unaccompanied, pregnant, heads of households, disabled or elderly are especially vulnerable.

At UNHCR, we work hard to ease their struggle, ensuring safe shelters that offer privacy, assistance with construction or maintenance, fair food distribution systems and separate sanitation facilities. We also manage programmes that help women to improve their leadership skills, overcome barriers to education, and access opportunities.

Our work builds upon women’s own resilience and strength, and helps them to improve their lives, as well as those of their children, families and communities, every single day.

Who we work with

UNHCR is just one of many organizations working around the world to help displaced women and girls.

We take part in a number of inter-agency fora that address gender issues and sexual violence, such as the UN Action against Sexual Violence in Conflict and the Inter-Agency Standing Committee’s Sub-Working Group on Gender. The UN Action Against Sexual Violence in Conflict, gathering UNHCR and other UN agencies, was set up to highlight and create awareness of abuses against women and, ultimately, to end sexual violence and make the world safer for women and girls.

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Further resources

Malian refugee women carrying their belongings through Mbera refugee camp in Mali. UNHCR, UN Refugee Agency, Sexual and Gender-based Violence SGBV GBV

Gender-based violence (GBV) is a violation of human rights. It denies a person dignity and hurts human development.

UNHCR marks International Women's Day 2017: Refugees and staff explain why they support women's right to work