Refugee Girls’ Secondary Education in Ethiopia: Examining the Vulnerabilities of Refugees and Host Communities in Low-Resource Displacement Settings

Refugee girls are one of the most marginalized groups in the world when it comes to school participation, and they are half as likely to enroll in secondary school as their male peers. Gender disparities can be made worse by conflict and displacement, and they often increase as children get older. As many low- and middle-income host countries move toward more inclusive models of refugee education, it’s critical to identify barriers that may differentially limit the inclusion of refugee girls. I use two unique household surveys, conducted in Ethiopia, to examine the household and community factors that shape participation in secondary school. My findings suggest that the magnitude and sources of disadvantage vary across groups. Domestic responsibilities and concerns about safety in the community are more likely to limit secondary school participation for refugee girls than for refugee boys and host community girls. Other factors, including parental education and exposure to gender-based violence, are less likely to differ between refugee and host community girls. These findings have implications for education and social protection policies that target girls’ education and wellbeing in both refugee and host communities.


The authors discuss their work in the Behind the Pages podcast episode embedded below:

Resource Info

Resource Type

Journal Article


Published by

Journal on Education in Emergencies (JEiE)

Authored by

Shelby Carvalho


Levels of Learning - Secondary Education

Geographic Focus