Oecd on integration of refugee women: threefold disadvantage

According to a study, female refugees come to Germany with a poorer level of education. They should receive targeted language courses.

Refugee women often have a child a year after arrival – making it more difficult for them to attend courses Photo: dpa

Refugee women not only have a harder time in Europe than refugee men, they are also at a disadvantage compared to other female migrants. This is shown in a study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which the international organization published on Thursday. So it’s not for nothing that the study is titled "Triple Disadvantaged?".

Female refugees mostly come from countries in which women are at multiple disadvantages compared to men: in education, on the labor market, in the family. This continues during and after the flight. For example, refugee women have lower levels of education than refugee men. They are also "overrepresented among those without basic qualifications," the study says.

As a result, it takes them about 10 to 15 years on average to gain a foothold in the labor market. Many male refugees, on the other hand, get jobs within five to nine years, according to the statistics. "Female refugees face a number of integration challenges," says Thomas Liebig, author of the study and responsible for international migration at the OECD.

There were about 800,000 female refugees living in the EU in 2014. Since the summer of 2015, an additional 500,000 female refugees have been granted protection status, 300,000 of them living in Germany.

Targeted support would be urgently needed

In general, 45 percent of refugees are women. If they find a job, they usually work part-time, and more often than non-migrant women. According to the OECD, this is not only due to their poorer health. It is also due to the fact that women – in contrast to men – have fewer networks at their disposal. It can also be observed that many refugee women have children about a year after entering the country. Regardless of this, female refugees receive language and integration courses less often than men, and they also participate less often in labor market programs.

Experience from Scandinavia shows, however, that women make up for gaps in education and jobs within a few years if they receive targeted support. For example, if a large proportion of them had only a low level of education after arriving in Sweden and could therefore hardly be placed in the labor market, their employment rate rose sharply within 10 to 15 years. The employment rate for men, on the other hand, stagnated.

"Structured integration programs like those in Scandinavia seem to be a worthwhile investment," comments study author Liebig. This is especially true for women, who benefit the most, while the integration of men remains at the same level.

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