More than five years since the conflict in Syria began, over 250,000 people have been killed, 6.5 million have become Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and an estimated 4.8 million registered Syrian refugees. The humanitarian crisis inside Syria has resulted in one of the most complex and tragic in history. Besides many other implications, the ongoing violent conflict has resulted in a change of gender relations in Syria over the last years. Due to the consequences of the conflict, many men are in one way or the other absent from their families, either because they have been killed, they are in prison, have migrated or are involved in fighting. Others have lost their income-generating possibilities as carpenters, smiths, electricians or construction workers since markets and supply chains have collapsed in many areas. Infrastructure is destroyed, and costs for inputs are soaring due to the siege and widespread violence. Industrial activities, production and small- and medium- size enterprises have seriously suffered. Hence, a significant number of men are shifting toward working in humanitarian aid activities.
The above-mentioned circumstances often force women to take over new roles and responsibilities, including generating income for their families. They face not only entirely new opportunities but also various challenges. Several factors hamper their access to the existing labor market to generate income, including a lack of literacy, insufficient education, lack of previous work experience, location (physical distance from the work opportunity) and in some cases cultural sensitivities and appropriateness of possible employment opportunities.
While these changed patterns increase women´s freedom of mobility and enlarge the range of socially accepted activities, it also imposes much more pressure and work burden on those women whose families become dependent on their struggle for survival.
Consequently, the need to assess market dynamics and opportunities is crucial to enhance women’s capacities to access the labor market. Hence, vocational training and income-generating activities, especially for women, considering their respective educational level and socio-cultural context and being based on a demand analysis of labor market opportunities and needs seem to be of utmost importance to support Syrian women under the current circumstances. This study is prepared by Orange Capacity Building Organization (Orange) in close cooperation with Conflict Management Consulting (CMC).