This briefing paper focuses on the experience of women and girls travelling to Europe, in order to provide a more detailed understanding of factors surrounding the decision to leave home, the type of journey undertaken, and their experience along the way. Produced by the Joint Analysis Unit on behalf of the newly established Mixed Migration Platform, this briefing paper is the first in a series of studies examining specific issues pertinent to migration to, from and within the Middle East region.
While gendered studies of migration are far from new, the prevalence of migration among women and girls varies by region and has also changed significantly over time. Since 2014, the characteristics of mixed migration from the Middle East towards Europe have shifted considerably in scale, composition and gender balance, and merit further investigation.
Between 2014 and 2016, women and girls have made up a relatively small proportion of arrivals to Europe, accounting for less than a third of all first time asylum applicants. Despite the availability of some sex- and age-disaggregated data on arrivals by sea and formal asylum applications, relatively little is known about the specific drivers, triggers and experiences of women and girls travelling to Europe and how they may differ from those of men. In order to address this information gap, this paper draws upon existing data about women’s migration in general, together with more recent studies conducted in transit and arrival countries to examine the characteristics and concerns specific to women and girls travelling to Europe as part of mixed migration flows, primarily from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.
(Excerpt taken from introduction)