Speaking for Ourselves

Migrants’ rights are women’s rights

Migrants’ rights are women’s rights


 Migrant Voice - Migrants’ rights are women’s rights

This International Women’s Day we are celebrating all the amazing migrant women we know.

Some of those who have shared their stories with us over the years include the award-winning Mirela Sula, who moved to the UK from Albania than a decade ago, and spoke to us about what led her to leading an organisation campaigning for women’s empowerment.

There is Livia Barreira, who moved to the UK from Brazil in 2016, who has written a book bringing together the experiences of eight migrant women, and who has been a tireless campaigner for migrants’ rights.

Then there is Loraine Masiya Mponela, a published poet writing about her experiences as a refugee, and a passionate advocate for migrant communities..

There are many more amazing stories, from amazing women, on our website. They show the strength, compassion, drive and force of migrant women, and also sometimes the challenges they face, when coming to the UK.

Some of these challenges are very specific to migrant women who are disproportionately affected by harsher immigration and asylum policies. Women are more likely to earn less than men, which means it is harder for them to meet minimum income requirements, which prevents them from being with their spouses. They are more likely to be caregivers, which means that they are disproportionately represented in domestic work or care and health sector visas, the same visas which are used by unscrupulous employers to exploit workers.

Women are at more risk of assault and abuse, which means that journeys to seek asylum can be far more dangerous for them. This is overwhelmingly shown to be one of the main reasons that more men than women are seen making irregular crossings into the UK. By restricting family reunification for those seeking asylum it traps more women in situations of persecution, because while the men have made the initial dangerous journey, women are prevented from using safer means to join them in seeking asylum.

Despite all this, we often talk about women’s rights in migration in terms of men. We talk about how husbands are unable to join wives. We talk about how men are crossing the channel in the hope they can bring female family members across more safely at a later date. This international Women’s Day perhaps it’s time we all start speaking more about the direct impact on women. The simple, and inescapable, outcome of harsher policies means more women suffer.

Women are more likely to be on a family or spousal visa. Restricting these has a direct impact on them. Extortionate costs of visas are more likely to prevent women from being able to afford them. Restrictive asylum policies are more likely to prevent women being able to seek safety. There is no separating out women’s rights and migrants’ rights.

Migrant women are a force which should be recognised, celebrated and promoted. This International Women’s Day we need politicians of all parties to stand up for the rights of women, and that means standing against the anti-migrant policies which impact them.

Get in touch

Migrant Voice
VAI, 200a Pentonville Road,
N1 9JP

Phone: +44 (0) 207 832 5824
Email: info@migrantvoice.org

Registered Charity
Number: 1142963 (England and Wales); SC050970 (Scotland)

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