When women flee their countries it is often because they are being subject to sexual violence, female genital mutilation or because of their relationship with a politically active man. The problem is that the UK asylum laws have been drawn up in relation to the experiences of men. To address this, in March 2004, the Home Office introduced Gender Guidelines for female asylum seekers, with the aim of recognising the specific issues which can face women. However, the Refugee Women's Resource Project has released new research which shows that these guidelines are not being adhered to, and as a result some women's claims for protection may have been wrongly dismissed.
Martha is joined by Debora Singer, co-ordinator of the project, barrister Usha Sood and Home Office Minister Tony McNulty discuss why this is happening and what can be done to put it right.