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.
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.
Bridging the gender digital gap
Bridging the gender digital divide articles
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
- Learning from experience to advance gender equality - promising practices in Asia (2017)
- Urban Refugee Women's Network – Turkey (2017)
- Sector Gender Focal Points Network – Jordan (2017)
- LGBTI Youth Group – Lebanon (2017)
- Building Capacity for Protection of LGBTI PoC – Jordan (2017)
- Mobile SGBV Prevention and Response Services – Lebanon (2017)
- Art Therapy to Prevent and Respond to SGBV – Egypt (2017)
- Emergency Shelter for Women and Girls – Lebanon (2017)
- Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Prevention and Response in Refugee Situations in the Middle East and North Africa (2015)
- Age, Gender and Diversity Good Practices in the Americas (2015)
- Speaking for Ourselves: Hearing Refugee Voices (2014)
- Dialogues with Refugee Women (2013)
- Age, Gender and Diversity Best Practice Compilation (2012)
- Survivors, Protectors, Providers: Refugee Women Speak Out (2011)
- UNHCR Gender Equality Toolkit
- Tackling sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment at UNHCR
- UNHCR's Commitment to Gender Equality
- From 1975 to 2013: UNHCR's Gender Equality Chronology
- IASC Gender Handbook in Humanitarian Action
- UNHCR Handbook for the Protection of Women and Girls
- UNHCR Gender Training Kit on Refugee Protection and Resource Handbook
- Refworld special feature on Gender Equality and Women
- Tearing down the walls – Confronting the barriers to internally displaced women and girls' participation in humanitarian settings
- Refugee girls' education
- Gender, Displacement and Climate Change Factsheet (2022)
- Background Note on Gender Equality, Nationality Laws and Statelessness (2022)
- Protection Forcibly Displaced Women and Girls During the COVID-19 Pandemic (2021)
- Protecting Forcibly Displaced Women and Girls during the COVID-19 Pandemic (2020)
- Cash Assistance and Gender – Key Considerations and Learning (2018)
- Gender Audit of the 2020 High Commissioner's Dialogue on Protection Challenges: Protection and Resilience during Pandemics
- Combined Gender Audit Report of the Five meetings comprising the 2020 High Commissioners Dialogue on Protection Challenges: Protection and Resilience during pandemics and the 2020 NGO Consultations
- Gender Audit of the 2019 Global Refugee Forum
- Gender Audit of the Meetings in Preparation for the 2019 Global Refugee Forum
- 2017 Gender Audit Report on the Second and Third Thematic Discussion on the Global Compact on Refugees
- Filippo Grandi, High Commissioner
- Clementine Nkweta-Salami, Regional Director for the East, Horn and Great Lakes Regions of Africa