The Financial Lives of Refugee Women in Scotland

  • Ibrahim Fatma Said Rezk

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)


This research aims to investigate the financial management and coping strategies of refugee women in Scotland after gaining refugee status. While refugee integration continues to be a key immigration policy in the UK, research shows that among all demographic groups in the UK, refugee women are among the most disadvantaged, regularly experiencing poverty and, in some cases, destitution. These experiences have mostly been investigated during the asylum process, while little attention has been paid to understanding refugee women's livelihood experiences after they gain refugee status in the UK.

This study was conducted following a multi-method longitudinal qualitative approach using a seven-month financial diaries study and qualitative interviews to explore the livelihood experiences and strategies of 13 refugee women in Scotland. The methodological approach used in this study is unique to the field of refugee livelihood and refugee integration and offers unique and novel insights that one-off interviews or surveys could not capture. The data collected comprises 244 weekly financial diaries, 71 diaries-interviews (including 13 baseline interviews) and 10 in-depth interviews.

The findings of this exploratory study address several issues within the literature, in particular in relation to the absence of lived experiences of refugee women from integration literature and social policy analysis. The findings show that insecurity induced by social security processes emerges as a prevalent factor influencing the financial decisions of refugee women in Scotland and shaping their financial management strategies. Mistrust instilled by the Home Office's treatment during the asylum process is also found to influence refugee women's financial behaviours even after gaining refugee status. Additionally, practical considerations, such as accessibility, flexibility and ease of access, are also found to shape the coping strategies of refugee women when timely financial solutions are needed. This empirical evidence could serve as a valuable resource for evaluating and designing new policy approaches, as well as financial services, aimed at better supporting refugees in the UK.
Date of Award2024
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Glasgow Caledonian University
SupervisorOlga Biosca Artinano (Supervisor), Neil McHugh (Supervisor) & Rachel Baker (Supervisor)

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