Findings in this chapter demonstrate gender inequalities across the Syrian refugee population, limiting access, rights and opportunities for women and girls, particularly as related to economic participation, education, food insecurity, humanitarian assistance, legal issues, and wider protections, including sexual and gender-based violence.
Compared with 2019, the vulnerability gap between femaleheaded households (FHHs) and male-headed households (MHHs) appeared to be shrinking in 2020. The evidence suggested that this was not because the situation for FHHs was improving, but because the overall socioeconomic situation was worsening for all households. Specific indicators included:
Proportion of households below the SMEB: In 2020, 85% of Syrian FHHs and 90% of MHHs were below the SMEB, representing a rise from 63% and 53% in 2019 respectively.
Unemployment: Unemployment rates for women (45%) remained higher than those for men (38%) overall.
Unemployment rates for both women and men increased by 8% since 2019.
Household per capita income: The gender gap in the per capita income between FHHs and MHHs with working household members effectively closed in 2020, with households averaging LBP 97,955 per week, in contrast to an approximate 0.44 gender income gap in 2019. In 2019, the mean per capita weekly income for MHHs was LBP 112,095 and in 2020 it was LBP 97,786, representing a 13% decrease. For FHHs, mean per capita weekly income increased from LBP 62,202 in 2019 to LBP 96,334 in 2020, representing a 54% increase. However, the identified increases in income for FHHs should not be interpreted as an increase in FHHs’ socioeconomic wellbeing. FHH with non working members still have a less per capita income than MHH.
Lack of legal residency: Women (18%) across all age groups were less likely to have legal residency compared with men (23%), but while the share of women without residency remained the same, it rose by 4% for men since 2019.
Accessing needed healthcare: In 2020, access to needed hospital care declined for FHHs by 16%, and for MHHs by 13% compared to 2019; during 2019, almost one third of FHHs (27%) did not have access to care compared with 17% of MHHs.
Child marriage: 26% of females aged 15-19 were married or had been engaged, separated, divorced or widowed while only 3% of boys were married.
Youth: Overall, 89% of young women compared with 57% of young men between the ages of 19-24 were not in education, employment or training.
However, women and FHHs remained more food insecure and dependent on humanitarian assistance:
FHH (55%) were slightly more food insecure than MHH (48%) and a far higher proportion of FHH (68%) than MHH (13%) were using coping strategies categorized as “crisis level or emergency level1 .
Consistent with previous years, women continued participating in the paid labor force at very low rates: 12%, compared to 65% of men.
For income, FHHs were highly dependent on humanitarian assistance and informal credit lines, as opposed to working or depending on household members that work, and were becoming more so.
Almost half (45%) of FHHs reported either E-cards from WFP or ATM cards from humanitarian agencies as their main source of household income compared with 34% of MHHs. This represented a slight decrease for FHHs, 48% of which reported these main income sources in 2019 and an increase of MHHs with this dependency, 27% of which reported such in 2019.