Building a new life and (re)making a family. Young Syrian refugee women in the Netherlands navigating between family and career

Authors Ada Ruis
Published in Journal of Family Research / Zeitschrift für Familienforschung
Publication date 2019
Research groups Innovative Social Services
Type Article


This article presents results of a qualitative analysis based on biographic narratives of three young, well-educated women from Syria. They arrived in the Netherlands between 2015 and 2017 in the context of family reunion. The central question is how young Syrian women navigate between two major projects that ask for their agency, being family and work. It is argued that both occupational career development and the building of a family are ‘agentic projects’ that aim to contribute to the establishment of a new life and to regain continuity. The analyses demonstrate that both projects are closely intertwined. Agency emerges as highly relational and intersecting with the women’s position in the life course, timing of life events, ability to adapt career goals to the new situation, and impact of social contexts on family relations.

On this publication contributed

  • Ada Ruis
    • PhD candidate
    • Research groups: Innovative Social Services

Language English
Published in Journal of Family Research / Zeitschrift für Familienforschung
Year and volume 31 3
Key words refugee family resettlement, life course perspective, agency, displacement and gender, young refugee mothers, biographic narratives
Digital Object Identifier 10.3224/zff.v31i3.03
Page range 287-302

Ada Ruis

Ada Ruis

  • PhD candidate
  • Research group: Innovative Social Services