The rise of fundamentalism and terrorism, and the violent acts committed against women, during the Algerian conflict of the 1990s (the ‘Black Decade’, also referred to as the Algerian ‘Dark Decade’) undoubtedly had a catalytic effect on the mass feminization of Algerian migration. However, they arguably served to amplify an existing migratory movement of women. This article argues that, during times of war or internal conflict, violence and a climate of fear may be the main reason why women flee, but it is not the only one. Women’s forced migration is complex and is often related to specific, gender-based oppression, which is exacerbated by conflict. This research, conducted amongst highly skilled women who left Algeria during and after the Black Decade, reveals that their decisions to leave were also greatly influenced by their position as women: the violence specifically targeted at educated or high-profile women, women’s legal situation and the oppression they experienced in family and society. Yet, despite the UNHCR’s gender guidelines, the complex experiences of women fleeing gender-based violence often remain unacknowledged by national asylum regimes.