This project was just a start.In this project, I covered the specific histories and gender roles of 6 countries. I also used literature, documentaries, and interviews to understand how women experience their journey and resettlement to Central Ohio. The reoccurring themes and narratives surrounded education, mental health, and gender-based violence.
I learned that while adjusting to a new life is hard, women are strong and have learned to adapt in many ways. Their situations are COMPLICATED, and there is no simple fix to the challenges they face. However, there are things we can do to make their lives easier. Improving local and international support systems—in areas like education, housing, and employment—and breaking down institutional racism are some large scale changes that need to occur. Being kind and empathetic, respecting those with an accent, and welcoming newcomers into your community are small scale changes that will also make a big difference.
There are so many more dimensions to refugee women's issues I wish I had time to cover. These include:
- Colonialism. Colonialism occurred in each country I studied and destabilized their systems. The colonial powers—England, the United States, Australia, Belgium, and France—exploited the people and natural resources, propped up problematic governments, and failed to effectively address the issues they created.
- Religion. Religion played a significant role in the lives of women. In some cases it provided comfort and support, but in others it was the source of discrimination and abuse.
- Solutions. Many of the sources I reviewed suggested a variety of ways to improve the lives of refugees and women. I want to take a deeper look at who is proposing these policies, what information they based it on, and if they were successful.