Spaces of Refugee Flight in the Eastern Mediterranean
Edited by Natalia Ribas-Mateos
Chapter 7: Listening to the voices of Syrian women and girls living as urban refugees in northern Jordan: a narrative ethnography of early marriage
Syria’s turmoil, which is entering its fifth year and shows no sign of coming to an end in the near future, has forced over four million Syrians to flee the conflict, with many more millions displaced and uprooted inside the country. More than half a million refugees, many of whom are women, have sought safe haven in Jordan. Increasing numbers of refugees in northern Jordan have made the choice to leave the camps and head for the city of Irbid and the surrounding villages. This often means losing social and economic assistance from international and regional humanitarian agencies, putting the refugees at increasing risk. Living scattered across Irbid’s deprived neighbourhoods and in the border villages, Syrian refugee women have found themselves in difficult conditions that have forced them to cope with new economic challenges and harsh social environments. This chapter presents an ethnographic exploration of the risks and vulnerabilities of the Syrian refugee women living outside the refugee camps in northern Jordan, in particular the risks to young girls entering early marriage agreements. By giving a voice to the women themselves, this chapter sheds light on some of their concerns and choices around marriage, thus providing information that can contribute to the development of culturally sensitive responses on the part of policymakers and practitioners working with families in the region.
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