The report, entitled More than Half (a reference to the fact that 52.8% of refugees, internally displaced people and those seeking asylum are female), was launched yesterday by our partner Global One.
It is the result of in-depth interviews with nearly 1,000 Syrian women refugees in Lebanon, carried out by a consortium of partners led by Global One, said Dr Husna Ahmad, CEO of Global One.
The report found that women and girls are particularly affected by lack of access to water and sanitation. As the main care givers, women often compromised their own hygiene needs to ensure their children had enough water. Lack of lights or locks on the communal toilet doors in refugee camps put women and girls at risk of harassment or rape.
The report said humanitarian organisations caring for refugees routinely fail to take into account the specific needs of women and girls such as their menstrual cycle. For example, 70% of the women questioned had no access to underwear and 73% sometimes or never had access to menstrual products.
Equally important, humanitarian agencies also failed to appreciate refugees' faith needs. "Humanitarian efforts are failing to address women as women but also as Muslim women," said Terri Harris of Global One. "So much has been taken from them by this conflict, we must not rob them of their identity."
Speaking at the launch, Helen Stawski of Islamic Relief said: "Faith provides people with resilience, with hope. Faith is a psychological buffer and a social network. It helps people form relationships, it is integral to people's resilience and dignity."