The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (hereinafter "UNHCR") estimates that 80 percent of the approximately 40 million refugees and internally displaced persons are women and children. In 2002, the United States received approximately 81,100 new applications for asylum. If these were to follow the demographics of refugees as a whole, nearly 65,000 of those applications would involve women and children. In light of such striking numbers, the UNHCR has asserted that "ensuring equal treatment of refugee women and men may require specific action in favour of the former."

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