Woman laughing, holding baby. South Sudanese refugee, Bety Aredu, 22, holds her seven-month-old baby, Sarah, at Biringi settlement, Ituri province, north-east Democratic Republic of Congo, where she receives support from UNHCR.
© UNHCR/Hugh Kinsella Cunningham

Women and Girl Refugees

Fighting for women’s rights, safety and opportunity.

With your help, displaced women and girls can thrive, not just survive.

Women and girls face discrimination and violence every day, simply because of their gender.

An ordinary task like collecting water or going to the toilet can put them at risk of sexual violence or abuse.

For women and girls forced to flee their homes, the risk is even greater. Women who are unaccompanied, pregnant, disabled or elderly are particularly vulnerable.

Across the globe, UNHCR teams are working hard, together with women and girls, to help ease the struggle. This includes ensuring safe shelters that offer privacy, assistance with construction or maintenance, fair food distribution systems and separate sanitation facilities.

UNHCR teams also run programs to help women gain leadership skills, access education and training, and start small businesses.

Rosette's Story

Rosette Lwanda, a 27-year-old mother of five, fled her home in the Democratic Republic of the Congo eight years ago.

She and her husband were able to start over in Masisi, a town in the country’s east, and built a house for their family.

Rosette recently participated in UNHCR-supported female leadership training, which she says made her realise she is not living her life to her full potential.

“I thought that a woman who is married doesn’t need to finish her studies. After the training, I changed my mind and decided to finish my studies. My husband is helping me as he is a high school teacher,” says Rosette.

“The training helped transform my relationship too. I respect my husband and he also respects me. Our conversation is better. Even though he is the only breadwinner right now, we discuss how best to spend the money."

“Before, I would not even dare to speak out in front of other women and men, but now I am also raising awareness to women and girls about their rights, including on matters related to heritage, but also child labour and other forms of child protection.”

“I now hope to have a better future for myself, that I will find a job and be able to offer a better future to my children.”

Rosette Lwanda, a 27-year-old mother of five, fled her home in the Democratic Republic of the Congo eight years ago.

Displaced woman holds baby. In Masisi, Democratic Republic of Congo, UNHCR empowers women to become leaders in their communities
© UNHCR/Sanne Biesmans

Our fundraising impact

The majority of funds raised by Australia for UNHCR are directed to UNHCR’s emergency operations, providing the ready funds and resources to respond quickly and effectively in situations of crisis and disaster.

Humanitarian programs