UNHCR Real talk: The thrills and risks of being a female humanitarian worker

March 13 2019 by Global Careers

UNHCR ‘veteran’ Aurvasi Patel and ‘rookie’ Eujin Byun share their thoughts on career, family and when it’s okay to cry at work.

39 per cent of UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency’s staff are women. That figure dwindles to 22 per cent when it comes to high-risk duty stations like Afghanistan and South Sudan, where Aurvasi Patel and Eujin Byun are based.

Aurvasi Patel has been with UNHCR for almost 30 years and is currently the Deputy Representative in Afghanistan. She has worked all over the world protecting refugees and displaced people, from Bosnia and Herzegovina to Sri Lanka and Tajikistan. Eujin Byun joined UNHCR in 2012. During the Syria crisis, she spent two years producing stories in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Egypt and Iraq. Since 2016, she has been based in South Sudan as a spokesperson.

Aurvasi and Eujin sat down with UNHCR’s digital editor Marta Martinez to openly talk about their reality as women humanitarians in the field.