Celebrate Women Everyday
Published: 8 Mar 2021
We at the International Refugee Rights Initiative (IRRI) #ChoosetoChallenge a world where displaced women continue to bear the brunt of conflict, mal-governance and exclusion. Displaced women and girls are most at risk for sexual and gender-based violence, sexual exploitation and abuse, and are disproportionately affected by the corollaries of poverty and scarcity, even in the places where they seek refuge.
Women navigate these challenges in many different ways. Some are resilient and overcome the day-to-day challenges of being primary caregivers to their families, however, they define those to be. Some suffer mental health and psychosocial difficulties, and some fall into neglect and substance abuse. We celebrate every day, the courage with which all these women face the struggles that life has placed before them.
The COVID-19 Pandemic has led to greater inequalities, and women who are often excluded in society, have been more impacted by the disease, but also by the stringent measures taken to stem the spread. Particularly for urban refugee women who survived on small businesses, the lockdown measures curtailed their income and their ability to access basic necessities like food. During IRRI’s rapid needs assessment on the impact of COVID for urban refugees, we received reports inter alia of women who were jailed after being caught selling their products during the lockdown, and of displaced women who were thrown out of their houses after being unable to meet their rent needs due to the reduction in income. Additionally, access to essential services such as health care, including sexual and reproductive health services were disrupted. The closure of schools has also seen many girls forced into early marriages and the numbers of teenage pregnancies rise significantly. For many refugees, the WHO health and safety measures like social distancing, wearing a mask and regular hand washing, are unavailable to them due to resource constraints. More so for the women who end up looking after people who fall sick while they lack the necessary personal protective equipment.