Workforce

As refugees in Lebanon, Syrian women “are now taking on traditionally male roles”

A Syrian refugee woman in Beirut. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

One million Syrian refugees currently reside in Lebanon, three quarters of them women and children. Separated from their husbands, or simply in need of more money, many refugee women find themselves supporting their families for the first time. Al Jazeera has published a photo essay of five Syrian women who have moved into the workforce after being uprooted from their homes. They have found jobs as gas station attendants, hairdressers, and painters. Some, like hairdresser Fatma Yahya, are wistful for their old lives. “I miss the time with my kids and my husband,” she told Al Jazeera. “I miss what they are doing at school and tracking their schoolwork, but I have to [work] to survive.” Others, however, find empowerment in their new roles as breadwinners. “Women are now taking on traditionally male roles,” said Amira Hassan al-Bdroun, who works as a gas station attendant. “For me, I never imagined myself working in a gas station. Now I am selling it and supporting refugees with their fuel allocations. This humanitarian work gives me the feeling I am an active agent in the community … And all the time I am saying, ‘As long as I am safe and my kids are safe, I have everything.’”

Read the full story at Al Jazeera.

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