Информационен портал за неправителствените организации в България
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Социална и икономическа интеграция на жени мигранти (на английски език)

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Social and economic integration of migrant women

Background
Women can be crucial facilitators in the integration process. When they have children, they are often multipliers in the areas of education and employment and play an important role as agents for the transfer of values. The positive impact of migrant women' employment on the social outcomes of their children is well documented.

Still, data and research show that migrant women face multiple disadvantages in comparison with migrant men and native-born women; in particular they have lower activity and employment rates, a higher risk of poverty or social exclusion and are more likely to be in lower skilled/valued occupations. This is true even though migrant women have on average a similar, or slightly better, level of education than migrant men. More adverse integration outcomes in turn can undermine their personal as well as economic independence, increase the risk of vulnerability and social isolation, as well as the risk of suffering mental health issues and low self-esteem. Women perceived as Muslim or of African descent face particular difficulties, in particular due to discrimination in access to the labour market.

Therefore, it is essential to support migrant women and girls to participate in all spheres of society and to promote gender equality. An effective social integration of women in the receiving society, in particular the capacity to interact and feel at ease with the new social environment, can contribute to improved social cohesion and facilitate their integration in the labour market.

Research carried out by the OECD and evaluations of previous AMIF projects supporting migrant women allow drawing some elements that contribute to the success of projects. Availability of childcare, even if informal, during the activities enhances the participation of migrant women. Confidence building, especially for new arrivals, is key and can be provided in a variety of ways, including mentoring schemes or engaging with participants and their families. Experienced migrant women already well established in a community can play a role, for example as mentors, facilitators, or role models.

Activities should support integration into the labour market of migrant women be developed to fit local labour market needs and explore less traditional job opportunities. They should also be organised in places easily accessible by migrant women, in particular by public transport. Linking work experience with training and language learning (for example half day each) is beneficial, as well as migrant women participation in activities lasting at least 6 months.

Objectives
  • Support the economic and social integration of migrant women; more specifically:
  • support the capacity of migrant women to interact and feel at ease in their social environment and their participation to social and political life at local level and/ or
  • support migrant women moving into work and facilitate their sustainable labour market integration.
  • In addition, the projects should:
  • raise awareness among migrant women of their rights, including access to education and work, participation in social, economic and cultural life, protection against gender based violence and access to justice;
  • raise awareness among public officials and professionals of specific needs and situation of migrant women in access to services;
  • facilitate the transfer of experience, knowledge and practices within the partners of the project to develop effective actions;
  • facilitate the dissemination of experience, knowledge and practices beyond the partners of the project, in particular at local and regional level, to develop more effective action targeting migrant women, including those from vulnerable groups;
  • improve knowledge on how to better support the social and economic integration of migrant women.

Actions
  • Activities for migrant women co-designed with them to best meet their needs, and designed in a flexible way to facilitate continued participation.
  • Practical trainings, workshops, mutual learning activities, mentoring schemes, peer group activities aiming at improving social and economic integration of migrant women and transferring and sharing knowledge on successful approaches to support the integration of women.
  • Outreach and empowering of particularly vulnerable groups of migrant women, for example women with low educational attainment, with limited or no work experience and paying specific attention to how several forms of discrimination can reinforce each other and affect migrant women.

Such activities could include, for example:
  • Specific language and orientation courses, in particular actions mixing language classes with other activities to consolidate language acquisition and improve other skills, competences or work experiences, such as vocational training or volunteering activities;
  • Activities developing job-related skills and competences, preparing for entry into labour market, (e.g. by providing support in drafting CVs and preparing for a job interview, helping in developing social and professional networks), upskilling or specific actions to support that skills and qualifications of women are properly assessed, validated and recognised; labour market integration measures specifically geared towards women;
  • Activities fostering confidence building and improving self-esteem, advancing social, political, cultural and/or sport participation;
  • Activities mixing local and migrant population to increase knowledge and awareness;
  • Activities tackling gender stereotypes and developing specific support programmes for migrant women;
  • Trainings for professionals and public officials working with migrant women / involved in the elaboration and implementation of integration programmes and activities to sensitise them to issues of gender equality and particular needs of migrant women.

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