The intersection of social work and Syrian women with refugee status : a transnational matricentric feminist perspective.


Social workers have a history of engagement with refugees since the inception of the profession. However, many social workers engage with clients without knowing about their refugee status, and globalization and forced displacement is causing this to be a more frequent issue at this time. The Syrian war has created the largest refugee crisis the world has ever known, and yet the United States has had a lackluster response to welcoming Syrian refugees despite a strong record of previously welcoming refugees. With the recent change in presidential administration, it is expected that Syrian refugees will soon be welcomed in this nation. As such, social workers need to be prepared to support them effectively. Within the population of Syrians with refugee status, women (particularly mothers) are most at risk; therefore, this dissertation seeks to understand more about the relationship between Syrian mothers with refugee status and the social workers who support them. To accomplish this, a qualitative phenomenological study was conducted to gain insight into the dynamics between two resettled Syrian mothers, the refugee resettlement workers, and the state refugee office workers in Chapter Two. The following chapter, Chapter Three, looks at a quantitative survey of social workers in North Carolina to understand more about their perceptions towards Syrian women with refugee status in order to help the field become more prepared for future arrivals. From there, Chapter Four presents a conceptual article which creates a model for social workers who identify as Christian to welcome Syrian women with refugee status by creating a deeper and more empathetic understanding of each other through the use of crossover texts from the Holy Bible and Holy Qur’an. Altogether, this dissertation offers recommendations for social workers to improve their work with Syrian women with refugee status from a transnational feminist perspective which stands in solidarity with Syrian women on their journey and urges social workers to critically reflect upon their own perceptions in the process.



Social work. Syria. Refugees. Matricentric. Interfaith. Transnational. Policy. Anti-oppressive.