Poverty Alleviation and Women Refugees in the Middle East: Empowerment through Grassroots Entrepreneurship? 2019

Polic​​y Brief

​Research Team
Nasser Yassin, Director of Research, Refugee Research and Policy Program, Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs (IFI)​, AUB
Yara Mourad, Program Manager, Refugee Research and Policy Program, Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs (IFI)​, AUB​
​Maysa Baroud, Project Coordinator, Refugee Research and Policy Program, Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs (IFI)​, AUB​
Widyan Al Shaar, Research Assistant, Refugee Research and Policy Program, Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs (IFI)​, AUB​
Refugee Research and Policy Program, July 2019

​Significa​nce

Lebanon hosts an estimated 225,000 Palestine refugees from Lebanon (PRL), 1.5 million Syrian refugees, and 34,000 Palestine Refugees from Syria (PRS) living across the country. Both PRL and Syrian refugees have to obtain work permits to work legally in Lebanon, and can only work in specific sectors, while PRS do not have the right to work. As a result, many refugees end up working in the informal economy, where they are vulnerable to exploitation. As of 2018, the unemployment rate among Syrian refugees was 40% (61% for women), and 69% of Syrian refugee households were living under the poverty line. Unemployment rates for PRL and PRS stand at 23% (31% for women) and 52.5% (68.1% for women), respectively, while 65% of PRL and 89.1% of PRS households live under the poverty line. The low employment rates for refugee women in Lebanon can be attributable to cultural factors and their family responsibilities. As such, refugee women tend to engage in work close to home or in home based income generation to support their families.




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