According to United Nations Women, discrimination is rampant against roughly half of the world’s 272 million migrants – female migrants. Gender stereotypes especially in domestic and care work, largely affects the quality of lives of migrant women around the world. Discrimination against women and migrants comes in an intersection and limit women’s autonomy and decision-making process, which increases their vulnerability to the systematic violation of their human rights.
To understand the experience of migrant women, below are three issues that migrant women face on a daily basis, and the solutions United Nations Women propose to combat them.
1) Access to information is limited to migrant women
53% of migrant women were not aware of migration risks, such as sexual abuse, extortion, trafficking, accidents and drowning, during their journey. This contributes to their vulnerability of being taken advantage of and even lead to serious consequences where their security, human rights, and life are threatened.
Plan of Action
Pre-departure training that educates migrant women of the risks of migration, as well as an overview of their rights in countries of origin, transit and destination, and how and where to seek redress is a method of breaking down the barrier to information for migrant women.
Countries should put in more resources in such training programs to inform women of their legal rights and prepare them for their transition in the country they are migrating to. Cultural and language barriers are two most common difficulties they face, providing language learning lessons is a great way to prepare them for
2) Heightened risk of sexual and gender-based violence
27% of Afghanistan migrant women left their home country due to domestic violence. Shockingly, 60 to 80% of migrant women and girls are raped at some stage along their journey when they are travelling through Mexico to the United States. And 90% of migrant women and girls are raped along their route from the Mediterranean region to Italy.
Plan of Action
Sexual and gender-based violence is a difficult and painful topic to talk about, and progress cannot be made over night. To combat such a large and prevalence issue, effort from all levels of authority and aspects of society need to be engaged. Government action in legislation, a better criminal justice system, better protection and legal enforcement are keys to change.
On a fundamental level, public education and awareness needs to be strengthened. Men, women, children, college students, everyone needs to know about the prevalence of sexual and gender-based violence. A global consciousness to reduce and say no to such violence is essential to protect women and girls against violence.
3) Lack of social protection
Despite the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that aims to promote a universal human right to social protection against poverty and social risks, only 22% of working migrants in their destination countries are covered by social protection such as health and disability insurance, sick leave, parental leave, pensions and unemployment funds. 70 out of 163 countries have laws to provide social protection for domestic workers, but less than half of the 70 countries actually have laws to protect migrant domestic workers.
Plan of Action
It is a broken record to demand leaders in government to respect human rights and allocate resources and enact policies to protect marginalized peoples. In a world where basic universal human rights need to be fought for, the work of non-profits such as United Nations Women, Association for Women’s Rights in Development, Womankind Worldwide and many more are so important in the battle of rights advocacy.
However, real and substantial change need to be made in policies and legislation. If you are interested in being a part of the change, start conversations and see what you can do in all areas of your life to promote women’s rights.
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Photo Credits: https://www.flickr.com/photos/unwomen/31136117643/in/album-72157662184095578/