Policy Brief: Bringing Gender into the Analysis of Syrian Refugee Settlement and Integration in Rural Ontario
By: Rana Telfah, University of Guelph (MIRRA Network Member)
The refugee settlement and integration process is demanding and stressful, especially for those who are coming from non-English speaking countries. The experiences of refugee women are doubly difficult as they often come as dependent immigrants and face many barriers during settlement.
While there is considerable literature on the settlement experiences of refugees, relatively little is known about the experiences of Syrian families, especially in rural Ontario.
This brief engages with existing literature to consider the recent arrivals of thousands of Syrian refugees and particularly the roles and needs of Syrian women who have settled in rural Ontario. It is an initial sketch of my PhD research project, in which I focus on three communities (Guelph, Chatham and Ingersoll) in Ontario and apply a social relational approach to analyzing the settlement and integration experiences of Syrian families in the rural parts of the province.
This approach analyzes gender inequalities in the distribution of resources, responsibilities, and power and helps in designing policies and programmes that enable women to be agents of their own development. By first puzzling out an approach to studying Syrian refugee women in rural Ontario, this piece sets the table for identifying strategies that will lead to better outcomes for Syrian refugee families in their settlement and integration in rural Ontario