Coping with Intersecting Vulnerabilities: Syrian Refugee Women Working in Textile Workshops in Istanbul

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Terzi E., KORKMAZ H.

Asian Women, vol.38, no.4, pp.1-22, 2022 (SSCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 38 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.14431/aw.2022.
  • Journal Name: Asian Women
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, MLA - Modern Language Association Database
  • Page Numbers: pp.1-22
  • Keywords: intersecting coping practices, intersecting vulnerabilities, Syrian women refugee workers, textile workshops
  • Erciyes University Affiliated: Yes


This study focuses on the intersecting vulnerabilities of Syrian women refugee workers in Istanbul and the practices they have developed and employed to cope with them. In the particular case of women refugee workers, the intersection of gender, labor, and refugee status creates overlapping vulnerabilities that invoke an understanding of the multidimensionality of women’s adverse experiences and coping practices. Thus, an exploratory research design was adopted to investigate how and to what extent the intersecting content of vulnerabilities is reflected in the coping practices of women refugee workers. In 2011, Turkey opened its doors to Syrian refugees fleeing the war in their country. However, with high unemployment rates and the prevalence of informal work, the situation Turkey offers refugees is far from an ideal employment context and can have devastating effects, particularly on women refugee workers. It is well known that they earn less than the minimum wage, work very long hours, and are exposed to ill treatment in the workplace. However, the ways in which they cope with these issues remain a mystery. To understand this, we used a qualitative method to collect data. We conducted semi-structured, in-depth interviews with 13 Syrian women working in textile workshops in the Zeytinburnu District of Istanbul. A feminist intersectional approach informed the content of this research. The findings show how intersecting vulnerabilities experienced by women refugee workers directly and greatly affect their coping practices. The findings further reveal that women refugee workers’ coping practices also have an intersectional content.