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Executive Summary

In accessing paid, decent work, refugee women face restrictive labor market laws, increased threat of violence, discrimination, as well as regulatory and administrative barriers. According to a new analysis conducted by the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security (GIWPS), in collaboration with the International Rescue Committee (IRC), refugee women could generate up to $1.4 trillion to annual global GDP if employment and wage gaps were closed.

The key takeaways from the report are below. You can also watch a video that summarizes the report’s findings.

  • Refugee women’s labor market participation is as low as 6%.
  • Highest refugee women employment rates are seen in the US (40%) and Uganda (37%), but down to as low as 6% in Germany, Jordan and Lebanon.
  • The gender pay gap is highest in Turkey, where there is a pay gap of roughly 94 cents per dollar between refugee women and host men. The gap is lower in the US, where the pay gap is roughly 29 cents per dollar earned.
  • Refugee women could generate up to $1.4 trillion to annual global GDP if employment and earnings gender gaps were closed to meet the national levels of hosting countries, per analysis done in top 30-refugee hosting countries, which host 90% of the world’s refugees.
  • Refugee women in the US alone could contribute $1.6 billion to US GDP.
  • Closing wage and employment gaps for refugee men and women, equalizing wages and employment rates between genders in these countries, could boost global GDP up to $2.5 trillion.
  • Closing pay gaps and removing barriers for refugee men and women in Turkey, Uganda, Lebanon, Jordan, Germany, and the U.S. alone – six countries which together host almost eight million refugees, or 40% of the world’s refugee population – could boost overall GDP by $53 billion.
  • This is five times the combined annual budget of the UN Refugee Agency and International Organization for Migration.

The report focuses on Turkey, Uganda, Lebanon, Jordan, Germany, and the US, and extrapolates findings to the top 30-refugee hosting countries, which collectively host approximately 18 million refugees.

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