WG Migration and Gender

Composition Working Group

This European Working Group brings together WIDE+ member organisations and individuals, partner groups and networks and volunteers (young professionals, academics, activists) from across Europe. The current working group membership covers active organisations and individuals in Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Serbia, Italy, Romania, Germany, Denmark and Sweden.

The working group is a space for individual volunteers, and a mix of organisations. National networks that connect development, women’s-led and diaspora women’s-led organisations; feminist organisations with a migrant women leadership group in the organisation; or migrant women-led organisations or a network of such organisations. There is also space for individuals to take part and contribute, especially for individuals that are at national or local level working as feminists.

Focus of the working group 

The working group aims to promote the rights and participation of migrant women, girls and gender non-conforming persons in democratic life throughout Europe. We want to debunk the simplistic narrative of migrant women as victims. As Bell Hooks articulated, there is power at the margins, and migrant women are powerful agents of transformative change.

We are committed to advocating for:

  • National and European policies to be more intersectional, fully accounting for the multi-layered forms of discrimination faced by migrant women;
  • The removal of barriers to healthcare services, including sexual and reproductive health services and protection against gender-based violence, regardless of immigration documentation/status;
  • Victim protection and other support services for migrant women facing gender-based violence, without facing threat of deportation;
  • Migration status that is not spouse dependent; migrant women should have the right to apply for or retain residence visas in instances of separation or divorce;
  • Protection and respect of women’s human rights at borders;
  • Promoting and centering the rights of trafficked women and girls;
  • The rights of female migrant workers, especially those in sectors where employment arrangements are likely to be precarious, illegal, and abusive.

Migrant women are for us all women, including gender non-conforming persons, who displaced between countries, trafficked or who have moved from a third or European country to a destination in Europe.

Overall Activities

The working groups organises online and face to face capacity building events that allow for transnational exchange and learning. It facilitates and support national capacity building events. It engages in awareness raising, making migrant women’s work visible in international spaces including online and towards European policy makers. It undertakes joint advocacy towards the European Union, especially the European Parliament. It contributes to national and European movement building around promoting migrant women rights in all its activities.

Lots of the current activities are made possible through a collaborative European project; “Expanding Spaces For Capacity Building And Exchange To Strengthen Women Migrant Movement Building Across Europe”, supported by Open Society Foundation. There is a lot of room to learn from our previous activities and challenges and adjust our working group agenda. For example members propose certain new topics or advocacy spaces to engage with.

For an overview of recent and past activities, kindly visit our resources page. The implementation of the activities are facilitated or completed for a substantial part by the WIDE+ secretariat following the directions of the working group. The working group meets 10 times per year online and tries to meet once per year through a face to face meeting. It is structured through ad hoc activities and current projects.

Click here for an overview of the most recent Ad Hoc Activities

Current Project

WIDE+ is pleased to share that it is part of an ERASMUS+ project, which is a collaboration between women-led and migrant women-led organisations with a shared mission to protect the rights of migrant women rights. The project is titled “Expanding tools in Addressing Barriers for Migrant Women to Participate in Democratic Life” or WE-EMPOWER for short. Some members/partners of the migration and gender working group are formally part of the project, but overall, all members are welcome to join activities/events of the project. Our transnational collaboration aims to encourage and empower migrant women to participate in civic and democratic action in Europe. Migrant women are for us all women, including gender non-conforming persons, who have been displaced between countries, trafficked or who have moved from a third or European country to a destination in Europe.

Partner organisations for this project include:

The project aims to build the capacity of providers of adult education, especially those in migrant women-led and other women-led groups, so that they are better equipped to encourage migrant women to take part in civic and democratic life in Europe; and to provide more migrant women an upskilling pathway to take part in public debate and dialogue with institutions. 

For more information on this project, kindly contact Nurhidayah Hassan at hassan@wideplus.org.

Previous Reports of the Working Group

  • Report of the joint project: “Expanding spaces for capacity-building and exchange to strengthen migrant women movement-building across Europe”, that started in  January 2020 up to August 2022 => WIDE+ OSF Report 2022_final.
  • Report of the joint project: “Strengthening Innovative Solutions to Protect Female Migrant and Refugee Rights”, that started at the beginning of 2018 and  ended in November 2019 => WIDEOSFmigrationpub2020.

Join the Working Group 

We are very keen to welcome new partner organisations and volunteers! There is no formal membership to the working group.
However, the WIDE+ network is strengthened if members of the working group join the network as voting members. To find out more about the Terms of Reference of joining the group, please download this document: WIDE+ Migration & Gender WG_ Terms of Reference_2022.

You can contact WIDE+ coordinator of the working group: Nurhidayah Hassan, hassan@wideplus.org for more information and when you are interested to take part.

Overview of some of the recent webinars held in 2020 and 2021

Background information Working Group

Like any feminist movement, the European feminist movement can be sustained and strengthened only if it is intersectional.  An intersectional feminist practice is necessary to battle profound systemic injustices to achieve a just and equal future. Intersectional feminism centres the experiences and voices of women who experience overlapping and diverse inequalities. At WIDE+, we believe in the importance of close collaborations with migrant women groups to support their rights and increase their political and public participation. This equal partnership and transnational exchange are key to migrant women movement-building.

Across Europe, migrant women face many rights violations, including gender-based violence, lack of access to social goods, and other forms of discriminations like racism and xenophobia. European governments adopt a highly technocratic approach towards migration and treat migrants as subjects to control and surveil, not as rights holders. With the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, migrant women’s rights are further eroded, compounded by increasingly visible anti-women’s rights and far-right political values in society.

At the same time, migrant women cannot be merely viewed as passive individuals with no agency. Women make up at least 50% of migration flows to Europe and they have been organizing since their arrival at their destination countries in this region. At the local level, migrant women groups provide safe spaces and support for their communities when governments have failed to do so. At the transnational or international level, they connect and collaborate with other migrant women groups to create advocacy platforms where their voices can be heard at political spaces and take action to push for equality.

%d bloggers like this: