Methods: This study uses PUMS data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2010-2015 American Communities Survey (ACS), the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Annual Immigration Statistics Yearbook, and the UNDP’s Gender Inequality Index. The analysis sample consists of likely refugees in the ACS data. We investigate refugees (n = 26,155) and non-refugee immigrants (n = 993,336). The outcome was a binary variable indicating employment. Using logistic regression and difference-in-difference (DID) estimation to ascertain associations between refugee women’s country of origin and other factors as compared to men’s, the sample was weighted to ensure that this was representative of the refugee population in the United States.
Results: Analyses show that most refugees come from nations identified as having at least moderate to severe gender-based inequality, with only 9.9 % coming from more equal societies. Refugee women from countries with high inequality were less likely to be employed than male refugees, but more likely to be employed than non-refugee immigrant women. Male refugees and immigrants were more likely to be employed by their female counterparts regardless of the GII rank of their country of origin, however there was a greater difference in employment among refugee women and men according to GII than among non-refugee immigrant women and men.
Conclusion and Implications: Gender and inequality in the country of origin must be considered in planning interventions and policy to support refugee women’s economic integration, particularly into the U.S. labor market. Findings indicate need for policies and programs that consider cultural backgrounds (cultural norms of countries of origin) when serving refugee women.