Smith, Kate (2011) The experiences of women seeking asylum in the UK: A literature review. In: Understanding the Social World Conference 2011, 13th - 15th July 2011, University of Huddersfield. (Unpublished)

This paper will be based on the early months of a PhD study and draws primarily on the literature review and an analysis of relevant policy documents. The study aims to explore the experiences of women seeking asylum in the United Kingdom (UK) with a view to informing asylum policy and practice with regard to both international and domestic law in relation to women’s protection. The experiences of women seeking asylum are closely linked to human rights discourse and include: women’s rights as human rights; violence against women and protection; and “women as agents of change” (Hajdukowski-Ahmed et al, 2009: 9). The experiences of women seeking asylum have been little explored, despite the fact that women make up a third of asylum applications in the UK (Freedman, 2008).

The paper will:
• provide an introduction to the concept of international protection;
• provide a brief history of key aspects of UK domestic asylum law and an overview of legislative developments, core themes and recent concepts in the field;
• identify some of the key aspects of the asylum process, from application to determination on the asylum claim; and
• provide a review of literature from scholarly articles and ‘grey’ literature on: the experiences of women in the UK asylum process; and the construction of women seeking asylum and multilayered identities.