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Gender and Social Inclusion

Summer Reading List 2024: WRC’s Picks on What to Read

Summer is here for us at the Women’s Refugee Commission in New York City and Washington, DC, and for many of our friends and supporters. This break from the routine of a busy year is a good opportunity to catch up on some of our research and recent activities.

Our team has put together our picks to add to your reading list this summer.

This is how we’re developing inclusive programs for adolescent girls in Colombia.

Three members of Tiemp de Juego in Colombia
The Women’s Refugee Commission teamed up with Tiempo de Juego in April to identify available services for adolescent girls in Santa Marta, Colombia. Credit: Juan Manuel, Kiwi Lab Visual Design

In April, we traveled to Santa Marta, Colombia, where we joined local staff and young leaders from Bogota-based organization Tiempo de Juego. Together we worked on implementing WRC’s I’m Here approach to develop effective programs to serve the needs of adolescent girls. The city is home to many Venezuelans who fled the country’s collapse and Colombians affected by the decades-long civil conflict. In Santa Marta, we were surprised by the limited services available for adolescent girls and gratified to see how needed our work is and how much impact we have.

In a recent blog post, WRC’s Julianne Deitch discusses our work in Colombia and for adolescents affected by conflict and crisis around the world.


WRC witnessed desperation among people seeking asylum at the US-Mexico border. We issued recommendations to improve conditions.

Mural at the US-Mexico border
In April 2024, a WRC team visited the US-Mexico border to assess the current conditions for people seeking asylum. Credit: WRC/Kimiko Hirota

WRC visited two migrant shelters in Sonora, Mexico, and the border wall in Arizona in April. We met with local officials, staff from other nonprofit organizations, and people fleeing persecution and violence who are hoping to apply for asylum in the United States. We wanted to learn more about the current barriers and challenges facing people seeking asylum along that part of our border, particularly women and families.

The report Desperation at the Border: Findings and Recommendations from a Monitoring Visit to Arizona and Sonora, Mexico outlines our findings from the trip and details six recommendations for improving conditions at the US-Mexico border for people seeking safety in the United States.


These incredible people inspire us to continue our work on behalf of refugee women and children.

Images of WRC's 35 Voices of Courage
As part of WRC’s 35th anniversary, we’re celebrating 35 remarkable people and groups who are part of our story.

2024 is a special year for WRC—we’re marking our 35th anniversary! Throughout WRC’s history, we’ve met and worked with incredible people improving the lives of refugee women and girls. As part of our anniversary, we’ve identified 35 remarkable champions who have been part of WRC’s story in advocating for the rights of refugee women, children, and youth.

These voices of courage include our four founders—Liv Ullmann, Catherine O’Neill, Susan Forbes Martin, and Susan Stark Alberti—strong, visionary women who in the 1980s realized that the needs and rights of refugee women and children were being overlooked. We also feature Majida Alaskary, who as a youth fled the occupied Palestinian territories with her family. When she later made her way to a refugee camp in Greece, she remained there after she was granted asylum so she could continue helping refugees who could not leave. Other voices of courage include Dr. Amani Ballour, who worked as a doctor in an underground secret hospital “The Cave” during the siege of eastern Ghouta, a suburb outside the capital of Syria. You will see other amazing voices of courage like Guerline Jozef, founder and executive director of the Haitian Bridge Alliance, and a Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award recipient, and Halyna Skipalska, country director in Ukraine for HealthRight International, a global health and human rights organization that provides services to counter violence against women. Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Halyna and her team—many of whom lost their own homes during Russian attacks—have provided remote and phone psychosocial services to mainly women and children across Ukraine. Halyna and her team continue to provide essential health services to women and children across the country because they believe that health is a human right.


We talked with reporters about how the Biden administration’s recent executive actions on asylum impact women.

Quote from WRC's Melanie Nezer on asylum
WRC’s Melanie Nezer recently spoke to Politico about the Biden administration’s recent executive action on asylum.

In June, President Biden issued an executive action to further ban access to asylum for people seeking safety at the US-Mexico border. WRC responded to this rule, noting that it could send migrants who are fleeing persecution back to danger while not doing anything to make the US or the border more secure.

Melanie Nezer, WRC’s vice president for advocacy and external relations, talked with Politico about how the rule will cause “needless suffering.” The article focused on the dangers faced by women seeking asylum, the lack of options for women seeking asylum, and the fact that many women arriving at the border are fleeing gender-based violence. In the Politico article, Melanie explained that the Biden administration’s new rule won’t stop people from making the journey to the US-Mexico border. The journeys will become more treacherous as people explore more dangerous ways to get to the US.

If you’re interested in podcasts, in a recent episode of Vox’s “Today, Explained” Melanie joined the mayor of Denver and other experts to talk about the critical role that local communities and nonprofit organizations play in welcoming people seeking safety in the US.


We hope you’ll take some time to take a look at or listen to our work. You can also browse our latest blog posts and view our library of research to learn more of what we are doing—with your invaluable support to create a better world for refugee women and girls.

Gender and Social Inclusion