Discrimination, social isolation, and access to rights are areas where women migrants have the most difficulties with regard to integrating in their host countries. These challenges are the result of the twofold obstacles migrant women face as women and as migrants. Difficulties in integration increase women’s personal as well as financial dependency, the risk of economic vulnerability and social marginalisation. In particular, they have lower activity and employment rates, a higher risk of poverty or social exclusion and are more likely to be in lower skilled and under-valued occupations. Once in their host countries, refugee and migrant women either have to be completely dependent on a spouse or an employer. Most of them have to be caregivers to their children so they do not have the same opportunities as men to go out for language classes or for studying. Since most of their hours are spent taking care of the home and their children, they do not get the exposure they need in their host countries to integrate smoothly in the new society and culture. The policies in Europe, regarding the refugee and migrants are not gender sensitive, which is probably one of the major reasons why the system is failing these women who are very capable and resilient, but are not given the same opportunities to work and excel in a professional capacity, like they did in their home countries.
In this backdrop, New Women Connectors (NWC) was initiated as a movement for inclusion, gender equality and social justice, by a few capable refugee and migrant women, to make things better for other women faced with the same challenges, which every woman undergoes when she is forced to move from her home. Although, NWC does not wish to alienate anyone, but our focus is mainly on women because we know that gender equality is lacking, due to which women are suffering more than men. It is important to understand and accept the fact that refugee and migrant women have specific needs which are not being met and we at NWC would like to make policy interventions to change things. We are grateful to our partners for the support they have shown to NWC, since our inception in 2018.
New Women Connectors is an initiative led by migrant and refugee women who have mobilised themselves in becoming a collective movement, demonstrating what the strength of unity and the power of raising one’s voice can do. Our aim is to raise awareness about the challenges and opportunities refugee and migrant women face in Europe, through facilitated platforms of discussion, thus creating a shift in communities and policy at large. Our platform provides refugee and migrant women the means to map their challenges, recommend solutions and become change-makers. NWC has been trying to bring refugee and migrant women together who want to work collaboratively on addressing their shared challenges and on utilising opportunities to empower others. Our activities harness a feeling of togetherness for refugee and migrant women from all cultural, racial and ethnic backgrounds. They connect, share, and learn together.
NWC platform works as a tool to identify the existing gaps of integration policies aiming at refugees and newcomers. With the goal of creating a support system for the female refugees, we advocate for women-friendly policy reform. We conduct thematic events and during our discussions with refugees and migrant women, we make sure to address challenges of integration and employment, with special emphasis on women.
NWC‘s work at the local level to connect it with EU level:
- Map the policy lens
- Identify the challenges
- Find solutions for integration challenges through consultation with refugees
- Inclusion of gender lens into policy-making
NWC‘s work at the EU level, to connect it with the local level:
- Bring the local voices to the European level
- Engage in debates around the issue of refugee representation in policy making
- Find gaps between the agenda & reality and present recommendations
Given the chance, refugees and migrants can be powerful agents of change, evidenced through their capacity and resilience to take charge of building local communities and filling gaps in services and assistance.
By addressing the refugee representation gap in the European member states and at the EU institutions; and by improving refugees’ capacities and diplomatic skills, we will effectively contribute to make the international and European refugee system more efficient, sustainable and just. Thus, we will play a part in ensuring that the European refugee policy delivers tangible improvements to the lives of refugees across Europe.
We strongly believe that, the inclusion of refugees and migrants in policy-making discussions is important in acknowledging and facilitating refugee and migrant agency and self-determination. Due to their personal experience in situations of displacement, refugees and migrants are in a good position to offer practical and sustainable solutions.
We are Committed
New Women Connectors works with the conviction of bringing a new perspective to the discussion about refugees and migrants by advocating inclusion rather than integration as a policy choice.
We are committed to ensuring that every voice of every refugee and migrant is heard and that no voice gets overlooked. We work to translate the experiences of refugees and migrants, especially women, into solutions for policy-makers. Our movement is also working towards creating gender equality and we do our utmost to help newcomer refugee women to know their rights.
NWC is dedicated to creating policy and perspective shifts surrounding the stereotypes that refugee and migrants, especially women, face in Europe today.