Home Institution

Boston College

Publication Date

Fall 2010

Program Name

Jordan: Modernization and Social Change


As a host country for displaced Iraqis since the 1991 Gulf War, Jordan has received waves of Iraqi forced migrants for the past twenty years, with the greatest number of displaced Iraqis arriving after the 2003 Iraq war. Due to its own limited resources, Jordan has faced the difficult task of hosting these refugees. The Jordanian government still does allow the majority of Iraqis to work in Jordan; thus, the majority of Iraqi households in Jordan lack a stable source of income. Through Iraq’s past three decades of war, Iraqi women have disproportionally suffered. In Jordan, Iraqi female household heads are among the poorest within the Iraqi population and are categorized as vulnerable peoples according to the IOM and UNHCR.

This study aims to look at the informal ways in which Iraqi female household heads are coping economically within Jordan. In order to develop an understanding for the economic situation of Iraqi female household heads on the ground, Iraqi women fitting these criteria were interviewed, as were case workers and program coordinators of local NGOs. Individual cases of Iraqi women were compiled to create a general consensus on the main coping mechanisms of Iraqi female headed households in Jordan.

After presenting the main economic coping strategies reported, the researcher concludes that remittances, travel stipends, and volunteer positions are the main ways in which female household heads in Jordan generate informal income. Continued international support, channeled through funding for UNHCR and NGOs in Jordan, supporting self reliance among Iraqis is strongly recommended.


Economics | Human Geography


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