To improve understanding of the links between gender inequality, women’s empowerment and migration at the individual, household and community levels, IOM, ECLAC, UN WOMEN and UNFPA this week organized a Caribbean Seminar on Women’s Empowerment and Migration.
This meeting took place on 25 October as a side event at the Thirteenth Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean, which closes today in Montevideo, Uruguay.
Evidence presented at the seminar confirmed that links between migration and women’s empowerment are complex and mixed both globally and in the Caribbean context.
Structural conditions and societal organization in the country of origin pre-determine the motivations and conditions of migration and return, and their positive and negative consequences for women’s empowerment.
High level participants from Caribbean nations agreed that conditions for women to migrate would depend on whether they migrate legally, on their opportunities to develop skills; to access decent jobs and generate income before migration; immigration admission policies and the socio-economic environment at the destination.
Unscrupulous recruitment practices, discrimination in the workplace and in the new community, and pressures of coping with transnational family arrangements may exacerbate female vulnerability and disempowerment as a result of migration.
This seminar will inform the development and implementation of gender-sensitive and rights-based migration policies, which will place the needs and contributions of women, including female migrants, firmly in the global, regional and national development agendas.
“We need to emphasize the development dynamics underlying migration, and the rights frameworks that may enable migrant women to benefit from and participate in development,” said Diego Beltrand, IOM’s Regional Director for South America.
Anna Platonova, IOM’s senior thematic specialist in the region, explained that though gender-sensitive approach is evolving in policy-making on migration and development, crucial evidence is often missing or does not go beyond the presentation of sex-disaggregated statistics. Thus the essential role of gender relations in defining the impact of migration for each mobility corridor is not entirely understood.
“As a result, migration is assumed to have the same impact in different societies, without placing it accurately in the context of related structural inequalities, power relations and household and community organization,” she noted.