Brief considerations regarding conditions of migrations processes involving women.
Under the light of the International Women´s Day we would like to emphasize on the women who migrate. Both those who flee armed conflicts or prosecution (refugees), as those who choose to leave their countries looking for a life condition improvement (migrants). All them face a long journey deeply affected by a socety-rooted phenomene: Gender inequality.
#8M #Migration #Refuge #Genderinequality
Let´s start with the basics shall we? Aren´t migrants mainly composed by men?
No, migration is not exclusive of men. Regarding UN data, almost half the world´s migrant population is made up by women. In fact, we are already analyzing the “migration´s feminization”, promoted by the globalization processes and poverty statistics raise in many countries.
On a historical basis, the lack of data centered around gender, has practically made migrant women invisible. However, we observe that for example Latin american women migrate more than men. In the case of Africa, as many men as women migrate, and in Eastern Europe countries, men migrate first, or the whole family moves places.
Therefore, one thing remains clear: Not only men migrate.
Another interesting issue is the progressive study of the migration phenomene, in such a manner that we are in position to now claim that women migrate as much as men, and also that migration processes are not the same for men and women. Even more importantly, gender determines a lot when it comes to starting point, and the specific conditions of the transit process and opportunities in the destination country. And this is absolutely crucial.
In which way does gender determine the migration experince?
That gender is a social construct that places women in a disadvantage position regarding men is an unchallenged fact by now. Therefore, we can claim that migrant women (or forcibly displaced) shall face a situation in which she will be discriminated or will see her rights taken away for being a migrant, and also, for being a woman.
This doublé vulnerability exposes women to finding many difficulties that can make their migration project fail.
The clearest evidence is gender violence. When we talk about women who flee countries in conflicto, for example, we face a variety of situations in which women are raped, exploited or trafficked during their journey. Official research shows that 2 out of 3 victims of Human trafficking and smuggling (HST) are women. Moreover, numbers increase to more than 90% if we isolate the data regarding HST with sexual exploitation goals, in which 74% are women under 25 years old and one out of four are children.
Tell us, How is the women migration process?
Although every process is vastly different, we can identify common scenarios and circumstances in migration processes which repeat themselves, and where gender factor is a key point.
To begin with, it is a fact that migrant women face a dangerous journey that exposes them to multiple violent situations (rape, forced labour or human trafficking network abduction, amongst others)
During their journey and arrival to destination country it is fairly common to end up working in inferior economic tasks, which slow down their autonomy and independence. We now know that there is a vast concentration of women in sectors traditionally owned by women themselves that do not offer full social guarantees of adequate conditions, are poorly paid and are not well rated by families and communities.
Even in Spain, migrant or refugee women hardly gain access to qualified work fields. Opportunity arises in sectors as previously described, such as hostelry, home employees, caretakers…
In addition, most women bear with them family duties. Some travel with children and some have left their families in charge of other relatives –mostly women- such as aunts or grandmothers, but are responsable for providing money and welfare.
It also happens that most women bear with the pain of leaving behind their family in their original country. Such an issue may affect their mental or physical welfare.
Some women also suffer these situations silently, describing an inexisting landscape for their relatives, in order not to worry them. Amongst them, women who are enslaved as housekeepers or are victims of human trafficking and smuggling.
Lastly, we know that expectations for migrant women –fully aware of the inequality which has defined their lives- are clearly inferior than men´s.
Has migration emancipating potential for women?
Yes, of course!. In Nueva Vida we know many women that have reached full autonomy. And they are recognized as such, both by their family and by their community. It has also meant a double effort for them!
We have witnessed women free from years of sexist culture, from parental education and from a tiring role as heroic, prototypical women that dictates how to behave properly.
It is not an easy process. Precisely the opposite. Luckily, many of them are helped in their journey. By other women, migrants, refugees, institutions, associations…Finally, many women make it and find their new or second home here with us.
Text Asociación Nueva Vida Photo Ana Blanco
Special thanks to the women that have collaborated in the campaign
Aquí más información sobre los proyectos de asilo y protección internacional, «Un nuevo hogar» y «Crea tu futuro».