THE SYRIAN CIVIL WAR HAS NOW LASTED OVER FIVE YEARS, CLAIMING THE LIVES OF MORE THAN 400,000 SYRIANS AND DISPLACING 13 MILLION PEOPLE. HOWEVER, THE TOLL FROM THE CRISIS IS FAR GREATER THAN THE NUMBER OF DEATHS AND DISPLACED PERSONS. THIS TASK FORCE EXAMINES THE IMMEDIATE EFFECTS OF THE CRISIS ON SYRIAN WOMEN AND CHILDREN, AND THE LONG TERM IMPLICATIONS OF A GENERATION WITHOUT ACCESS TO ADEQUATE HEALTHCARE, EDUCATION, EMPLOYMENT, AND LEGAL RIGHTS.
- Women’s Political Rights and Gender-Based Violence
Lack of adequate legal protections for women and children has contributed to an increase in sexual and domestic violence, honor crimes, and early or forced marriages for both the domestic and refugee population.
- Economic Conditions
Syria and refugee host countries lack job opportunities for women, leaving female-headed households extremely vulnerable and driving an increase in child labor.
Healthcare access has declined in Syria because of damage to health infrastructure, the besiegement of cities, and restricted access to humanitarian aid. In host-nations, overcrowding and limited resources negatively impact health outcomes of Syrian women and children.
The widespread destruction of educational infrastructure and overcrowding has led to decreased access to schooling of more than 2 million children within Syria, and upwards of 700,000 refugee children in host countries.
Based on our Gap Analysis, we have organized our recommendations according to these four categories:
- Law, Policy and Enforcement
Syrian women must be part of the peacekeeping and political restructuring processes. The UNDP should enact the Eight Point agenda for Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality in Crisis Prevention and Recovery.
The UN should devote resources to help renovate and rebuild essential infrastructure such as hospitals, schools, and water and sewage systems.
- Brain Drain
Training should be provided for women in healthcare, teaching, small business and civic engagement. Syrian children should be reintegrated into schooling.
- Funding Gaps
The UNDP should create and execute an emergency employment plan, scaling up livelihood assistance for female-headed households. International donors should honor pledges made at the London Conference for 2017 to 2020.