UN Women and Association for Solidarity with Asylum Seekers and Immigrants (ASAM) undertook a comprehensive needs assessment of Syrian women with the aim of gathering information on the needs of refugee women and girls, the challenges they are facing to access services and identifying areas that need improvement. The research, funded by the Government of Iceland, showed that the main problems that Syrian women face are access to better housing conditions, language and access to employment opportunities. The data are based on structured and in-depth interviews with 1291 Syrian women and girls across seven cities.
According to the needs assessment;
- The language barrier is a major obstacle that stands in the way of Syrian women to access rights and services. Syrians in Turkey may enroll in free state supported Turkish language courses, but the study found that 70% of Syrian women do not speak any Turkish.
- Housing is one of the main problems. 36% of women described their place of living as bad or very bad to live in, 62% as habitable (acceptable), while only 2.2% as very good. More than 17% of women interviewed said that they live in sub-standard accommodation such as basements with no sunlight and poor ventilation, and shanty houses. Despite their housing problems, 87% of Syrian women claimed that they feel safe at home, and 73% feel safe in their neighborhood.
- Only 15% of women work in income-generating jobs. Almost half of all widowed women surveyed therefore survive with monthly incomes around 700 TRY, as do 36% of divorced women and 32% of single women.
- Although Syrian women and girls face ill-treatment and discrimination in their daily lives, 73% do not know where to find seek assistance related to violence or harassment.
- 74% do not know where to seek assistance for their children, despite 11% having experienced an incident with their children.
- Syrian women are unaware of various support services: 68% do not know about free legal counselling; 63% about home care, 59% about psychosocial support and 57% about childcare services.
- Syrian women in Turkey appear particularly satisfied with their access to medical services. 86% report being able to access free primary health care in the cities where they live. About 14% claim facing discriminatory attitudes, prejudices, and language and/or cultural barriers, resulting in low-quality or a lack of services.