The Differential Experience of Mozambican Refugee Women and Men


Ager, Alastair, Wendy Ager, and Lynellyn Long. 1995. “The Differential Experience of Mozambican Refugee Women and Men.” Journal of Refugee Studies 8 (3): 265–87.

Authors: Alastair Ager, Wendy Ager, Lynellyn Long


This study examines differences in the experience of Mozambican women and men in refuge in Malawi in late 1990, with particular regard to the differential impact of assistance policies and programmes. Data collection was through a survey of 420 households and intensive qualitative interviews and daily schedule analysis with a representative focal sample of 20 individual refugees. Sample sites spanned both refugee camps and integrated settlement patterns. Data on educational activity indicated that established gender inequalities in schooling were perpetuated in the refugee setting. Programmed vocational training activities had little impact on income generation for either men or women. Whilst incomes were generally very low, the median income for women was zero. Work burden was generally heavier on women. Whilst the health status of men and women was similar, there was evidence of poorer health in female-headed households. Discussion focuses on the inter-relationship between these findings and refugee assistance efforts at the time of the study. In general terms, such assistance had clearly failed to significantly impact the key targets of substantive income generation for women and reduction in female work burden. Indeed, food relief policy and structures for refugee representation appeared to frequently exacerbate existing gender inequalities. Such findings regarding the differential experience of refugee women and men may be of considerable relevance to the planning and management of future refugee assistance programmes. In particular, the goals of increasing time availability for women and increasing support for indigenous action are commended.

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Forced Migration, Refugees, Refugee/IDP Camps, Education, Gender, Women, Men, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Health, Households, Humanitarian Assistance, Livelihoods Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Malawi, Mozambique

Year: 1995

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