Career Development Barriers in the Post-Settlement Phase amongst Women Refugees: Implications for Human Capital Development
Keywords:women; refugees; gender; career development; barriers
South Africa has witnessed an increase in the number of refugees in the country. This could be due to the country being perceived favourably especially by refugees from the African continent. This study investigates the career development barriers affecting women refugees in the post-settlement phase and further ascertains the implications that these can have on human capital development. Calls have been made within extant literature to focus on the impact of the global refugee crisis and its implications for the career opportunities and experiences of refugees. A qualitative research approach was utilised based on the narratives and stories of 20 women refugees operating in Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. Two main findings were found based on the data analysis. First, a range of barriers that relate to individual and contextual factors were found to affect refugees post-settlement. Second, the interacting nature of these barriers is illustrated and shown to affect individual agency as refugee women focus on the acquisition of basic commodities rather than long-term human capital development. The research suggests strategies that policymakers can adopt to assist women refugees not just with their career development but also integration in the host country. This study extends and advances the literature on the career development issues relating to vulnerable groups such as women refugees, particularly in developing nations such as South Africa. Further, the study makes suggestions for practice with wider ramifications that can assist women refugees during the post-settlement phase.