Iraqi Refugee Females in Lebanon: De Facto Changes in Gender Roles


Beydoun, Rouba. 2008. “Iraqi Refugee Females in Lebanon: De Facto Changes in Gender Roles.” Al-Raida 120-121 (Spring): 36–44.

Author: Rouba Beydoun


The year 2003 was a turning point in the Arab region. The Coalition Forces invaded Iraq causing the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime and the subsequent violence. This has led to a massive influx of refugees throughout the Arab region. Around 4.2 million Iraqis left their homes due to the violence in their country. Some two million have fled to neighboring countries, including Lebanon (UNHCR, 2007). Lebanon is also host to an estimated 400,000 Palestinian refugees who fled Palestine largely as a result of the formation of the Israeli state in 1948 (Shafie, 2007). Aside from Palestinians, Iraqis currently account for the vast majority of refugees in Lebanon (DRC,2005). The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that around 50,000 Iraqi refugees are residing in Lebanon (IRIN, 2007).The Lebanese State is not a signatory to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, thus the vast majority of Iraqis have had to enter the country illegally (IRIN, 2007). A study based on a sample of 2,892 Iraqi individuals in Lebanon in 2007 indicated that 36.4 percent of the sample was female (DRC, 2007).Many factors in Lebanon and in Iraq affect the refugee woman’s role in society. What is expected of her and those around her often changes under emergency circumstances. This article explores the extent of these changes. It will hopefully benefit researchers as well as development agencies by providing insight into the daily expectations, hopes, and responsibilities of an Iraqi refugee woman or girl in Lebanon. The article also aims to bring the typical concerns of a refugee woman to the attention of her host community. 

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Refugees, Gender, Women, Post-Conflict, Violence Regions: Africa, MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine / Occupied Palestinian Territories

Year: 2008

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