Changing the System: Enhancing Participation of Young Migrant and Refugee Women in International Political Processes through Intercultural Feminist Action-Research
European Network of Migrant Women (ENoMW) in collaboration with The Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po)
A graduate student team from The Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po) are finding, defining, and analyzing the major barriers and gaps that hinder migrant and refugee women’s participation in international decision-making processes, with a specific focus on young women, and recommending ways to bridge them.
Sciences Po’s research is designed as an action-oriented plan for the European Network of Migrant Women (ENoMW), an organization that strives to combat discrimination and promote the rights and interests of migrant and refugee women within Europe through coordinated advocacy, exchange of information, capacity building activities, projects and events and representing ENoMW members at both the European and the National level.
Until today, migrant and refugee women have been distanced from international frameworks and processes such as the CEDAW convention, the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) and the Beijing Platform for Action. Their low participation is determined by many factors, from the legal and financial barriers that prevent them from travelling, to access to information and awareness about the existing mechanisms designed to serve these women and improve their living conditions. As a result, their interests are often poorly or not at all represented at the international level. For example, for most migrant or refugee women it is impossible to travel to CSW in New York. In the recent Bejing+25 consultation process and the preparations for Generation Equality, migrant women were also underrepresented as the overwhelming majority of them were not informed about the possibility to participate.
For young migrant women the gap becomes even bigger, as many of them grow up without the knowledge about the women’s rights frameworks that feminist advocates created in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. Based on the experience of the ENoMW, and their young women branch, Radical Girlsss, most young women are unaware of CEDAW and the Beijing Platform for Action - the two crucial and universal international instruments on women’s human rights. Without this knowledge, in post-crisis situation, and under the risk of populist forces, as a society we risk forgetting the values, principles and legal obligations entrenched in these documents.
Migrant and Refugee Women and Girls: essential voices that must be heard globally
All women must be aware of their rights. Migrant and refugee women, including young women, must be able to become active political citizens, take part in and influence international decision-making processes, make their voices heard and put their concerns on the global political agenda. Without such participation, especially from the grassroots level, high-level political processes risk being more and more detached from the reality of women’s lives, while migrant women will continue to suffer injustice: from intimate partner violence with no access to protection and redress, to segregation into low paid sectors, to lack of access to health services and education.
Deliverables & Impact
This project answers and provides recommendations on the following questions and topics:
What factors hinder migrant and refugee women’s participation in international decision-making processes?
What changes are required to address the causes of their disconnection from international decision-making bodies’ activities and to foster their participation?
How do migrant women themselves view such gaps?
The Sciences Po team is finding, defining and analyzing the major barriers and gaps that hinder migrant and refugee women’s participation in international decision-making processes, with a specific focus on young (16-25 years old) women, and coming up with recommendations and methodology on how to bridge them.
The main deliverables of this project are:
The development of a toolkit focused on empowering young migrant and refugee women
A workshop designed by the Sciences Po team to lift the voices of young migrant and refugee women
A report featuring Sciences Po’s proposed recommendations
The toolkit created by Sciences Po and report was shared with the Vice Chair of the CEDAW committee Nicole Ameline to discuss and implement mechanisms that can be introduced to empower the political participation of young migrant and refugee women in Europe.
The toolkit will be used by the European Network of Migrant Women (ENoMW) to train members of the ENoMW in over 23 states in Europe in capacity building and facilitating activities that enhance the participation of young migrant and refugee women in Europe. This will impact a total of 370 individuals.
The workshop created and launched last year by ENoMW as a result of the Sciences Po toolkit has impacted 26 young women and is expected to be replicated among ENoMW members across Europe to impact 300 women in the coming year.