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In its Resolution 32/142 (1977), the United Nations General Assembly officially called for member countries to designate a day of their choosing to recognize the important role of women in strengthening international peace and security. The UN itself has commemorated International Women's Day on March 8 since 1975. For more information, visit


Women play a prominent role in the forced migration context. Not only do they tend to make up a minimum 50% of any refugee population (this percentage rises among IDPs), but studies also show that their numbers increase with the age of the displaced population. Over the years, this reality has brought about more targeted programming in humanitarian assistance. Yet, despite this development, forced migrants who happen to be women continue to be confronted by particular needs and protection challenges, such as gender-based persecution and violence, access to reproductive health services, personal safety and security. At the same time, the role women play in peace building and reconstruction is increasingly recognized and supported by programmes that focus on empowerment, participation and leadership activities.

This resource page guides users to background documents and web resources selected from Forced Migration Online (FMO) that expand further on this important topic, and highlights organizations that focus on gender issues. Other related FMO resource pages include:



Selected full-text documents (for more, search in the Digital Library)

Web Resources

Selected web-based information resources (for more, search the FMO website)

Relevant Organizations

Contact details for relevant organizations (for more, search in the Organizations Directory)

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creative commons logo (CC) BY-NC-ND This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.

Photograph of Refugee women from Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Refugee women from Sierra Leone and Liberia at Kountaya camp in Guinea.
© UNHCR/L.Taylor

Last updated Sep 06, 2011