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Women and War

A guide of search strategies for and selected resources on the topic of Women and War.

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"A refugee is a person who has been forced to flee his or her country due to persecution, war, violence, or environmental disasters. Human conflicts and other life-threatening incidents force people into becoming refugees. In the chaos of war, including contemporary conflicts, violations of human rights are common: civilians are often the targets of mass displacement, sexual violence, abduction, ethnic cleansing, or genocide, carried out by both state and nonstate actors. Once displaced to a host country, they are often powerless to control the conditions in which they live. This entry focuses on several areas of concern regarding the displacement of persons during times of crisis and reintegration and on support provided by the international community." 

Bhattacharyya, A. (2017). Refugees and refugee reintegration. In P. Joseph (Ed.), The SAGE encyclopedia of war: Social science perspectives (pp. 1447-1449). Thousand Oaks,, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc. doi: 10.4135/9781483359878.n550

Research Tips

Useful databases to search include:

  • PAIS Index
    • The PAIS International database contains references to journal articles, books, government documents, statistical directories, grey literature, research reports, conference reports, publications of international agencies and more. PAIS includes publications from over 120 countries throughout the world.
  • Women's Studies International
    • Provides citations and some abstracts to the core areas of women's studies.

Useful keywords to use when looking for research:

  • Refugee Resettlement Services
  • Refugees
  • Women Refugees


Selected Scholarship: Books

Selected Scholarship: Journal Articles

Deacon, Z., & Sullivan, C. (2009). Responding to the complex and gendered needs of refugee women. Affilia: Journal of Women & Social Work, 24(3), 272–284.

Abstract:  Refugee women's experiences and needs are qualitatively different from those of men. However, women's experiences have long been overlooked in favor of a male-centered paradigm that governs the response to survivors of warfare. To close this gap in science and practice, a needs assessment was conducted with 31 refugee women. The findings revealed the importance of considering the impact of refugee women's sociodemographic characteristics on their experiences in resettlement and the significance of their need for basic resources. Meeting these needs may facilitate the resettlement process and ameliorate the gendered effects of resettlement on refugee women.

Erdener, E. (2017). The ways of coping with post-war trauma of Yezidi refugee women in Turkey. Women’s Studies International Forum, 65, 60–70.

Abstract: This study shows the strategies for coping with the post-war trauma of Yezidi refugee women who escaped from the Sinjar genocide by ISIS in August 2014. The interviews that became the basis of this research were done only for the psychological support of the women staying at the Diyarbakir Refugee Camp in Turkey between January and March 2015. This research was shaped with aim of understanding the women, sharing their experiences, and being these women's voices, therefore the interviews given by Yezidi women were evaluated with grounded theory methodology. Coping strategies included gratitude for surviving, finding meaning for massacres, politization, being self-enclosed, mourning rituals and worship, strengthening women's solidarity, and showing solidarity with sexually attacked women through silence. War trauma reactions included mental unpreparedness, the sense of being betrayed, verbalization about the genocide (but not the sexual attacks), re-experiencing the trauma and mood changes.

Seguin, M. (2016). Our flesh is here but our soul stayed there: A qualitative study on resource loss due to war and displacement among internally-displaced women in the Republic of Georgia. Social Science & Medicine (1982), 150, 239–247.

Abstract: Losses experienced by conflict-affected civilians in low and middle income countries is a relatively unexplored area. The aim of our paper is to explore the concept of resource loss in the accounts of internally displaced women in Georgia. We use Hobfoll's Conservation of Resources (COR) theory to guide our approach by examining the loss of objects, personal characteristics, conditions, and energies. Semi-structured interviews were conducted on 42 purposively-selected Georgian women residing in internally displaced persons settlements during fieldwork in Georgia from December 2012 to February 2013. Line-by-line open-coding was conducted on translated and transcribed interviews using Nvivo. The conservation of resources theory was utilised to guide the ‘mapping’ of the relationships between losses which occurred in the post-conflict period. War-related trauma led to the loss of property, which caused the loss of livelihood and subsequent loss of social networks and mental and physical.