Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Refugee women face considerable challenges while fleeing their countries, and attempting to adjust to their new lives in their host country. As a result of being both a woman, and a member of a marginalized group, refugee women tend to suffer disproportionately during displacement and and resettlement (UNHCR, 2015). They are more likely to be discriminated due their gender and ethnicity, and to lack the necessary community supports and resources needed to overcome barriers they encounter. In response to the refugee crisis, service organizations have emphasized empowerment as a key way to improve the lives of refugee women. While there is extensive literature on refugee women and empowerment, traditional empowerment models often fail to question the position of helpers and to include the voices of the marginalized communities they are intended to serve. This paper aims to explore the experiences of social service providers seeking to serve young refugee women in Chicago. By focusing on the reflections of service providers who identify as first and second generation immigrant and refugee women, it seeks to provide alternative narratives about empowering refugee women. This study will aim to answer the following questions: What are the experiences of service providers seeking to serve young refugee women? How do service providers define empowerment, and how does their definition shape their work? What recommendations do service providers offer for community organizations seeking to empower young refugee women?

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.