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Commission on the Status of Women (CSW66)
Friday, 18 March
9 am EST/3 pm CST
Register at https://bit.ly/ClimateMigrationRegister
Interpretation in English/Spanish/French/Arabic/Russian
In the context of government inaction on the climate crisis, we’ll explore climate change impacts at the intersection of migration and gender, focusing on the human rights of women and girls displaced and migrating due to climate-related factors.
Speakers representing diverse sectoral and regional perspectives will address challenges arising from a lack of gender-responsive, rights- and justice-based responses to climate-related migration, including how lack of documentation limits access to decent work and social protections, and undermines safety and freedom of movement. We’ll share how despite these challenges migrant women are leading with resilience, creating frontline models of solidarity.
WIMN thanks all the partners of the Support Program for Reducing Inequalities through Intersectional Practice” (Robert Bosch Stiftung) whom we learned from and with over the last year.
Feminist Fridays: Conversations about Labour Migration from a Feminist Lens is a collaborative initiative of Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID), Focus on Labour Exploitation (FLEX), Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW), Solidarity Center, and Women in Migration Network (WIMN).
During the course of six sessions, we will think through complex issues and build/share knowledge and learn from each other. We will start with a discussion on ‘what is a feminist lens on labour migration’ and will move on to feminist research, advocacy, organising and media. The final session will be on imagining feminist futures on labour migration. Panelists will come from academia, NGOs including migrant worker led organisations, trade unions and media.
Labour migration, within and across national borders, is part of the lived experience of many women and men in today’s world. In 2017, ILO estimated that there were 164 million international migrant workers: 96 million men and 68 million women. According to UN/DESA, prior to the onset of COVID-19, the number of international migrants had reached 281 million. This was in line with the upward trend in international migration for over two decades. While most countries do not document labour migration within their national borders, there is enough evidence to conclude that the number of workers who migrate from rural to urban and industrialised areas within their own countries has also been growing over the last few decades. And despite the disruptions created by COVID-19, people continue to move within and across borders.
Click here to read the entire background document and program.
Click here to register for all sessions or for just some of them.
Session 1: Our starting point: What exactly is a feminist approach to labour migration?
23 April 2021, 1 pm GMT
Migration scholars have talked about ‘feminisation of labour migration’, and there is a consensus that migration is a gendered phenomenon. What is an intersectional feminist lens on labour migration? How and why does it differ from the ‘traditional’ understanding of labour migration?
Moderators: Marianne Mesfin Asfaw (Logistics and Administrative Coordinator, AWID) and Bandana Pattanaik (International Coordinator, GAATW)
Panellists: Dr Nicola Piper (Professor of International Migration and Founding Director of the Sydney Asia Pacific Migration Centre at the University of Sydney); Dr Priya Deshingkar (Professor of Migration and Development, University of Sussex); Dr Tanja Bastia (Reader in International Development, University of Manchester) and Dr Mary Boatemaa Setrana, Senior Lecturer, Centre for Migration Studies (CMS), University of Ghana
Session 2: Feminist research on labour migration
14 May 2021, 1 pm GMT
Feminist research seeks to address unequal power structures, challenge dominant patriarchal discourses, and centre the lived experiences of women. What are the implications of carrying out feminist research, especially during a pandemic? Using examples from feminist participatory action research, this session focuses on building knowledge on labour migration from the ground up.
Session 3: Writing about labour migration from an intersectional feminist lens
4 June 2021, 1 pm GMT
Women migrant workers often feature in the media as victims of abuse. As low-wage workers in sectors that have limited rights protections, women migrant workers do experience abuse and gender-based violence. However, migration is also an opportunity for women to escape violence, enrich their life experience, acquire new skills, and support themselves and their families. How can we document women’s lived experiences without denying them agency? Is it possible to show that vulnerability and agency can co-exist in the same life story? What examples of self-representation do we have by women migrant workers themselves?
Session 4: How does a feminist lens inform our advocacy?
25 June 2021, 1 pm GMT
As 2020 and 2021 have demonstrated, women are leading resistance movements globally. Women workers have always played a strong role in grassroots activism, yet in the corridors of power they remain invisible. How do we leverage our feminist strengths to systematically create gender-responsive policy mechanisms? What advocacy strategies targeted at improving labour migration policies have succeeded and failed? What does the Global Compact for Migration offer women migrant workers and how do we build a grassroots advocacy movement towards an intersectional feminist agenda for the 2022 International Migration Review Forum (IMRF)?
Session 5: Labour migration and intersectional feminist organising
16 July 2021, 1 pm GMT
Migrating for work takes women (and men) across borders of various kinds. What examples of solidarities across various borders and boundaries do we see in practice? Can feminism help us build solidarities across class, caste, race, ethnicity, citizenship, sexual orientation and occupation? If so, how? How do we influence union structures to be more inclusive and intersectional to support migrant organising? How do we support women migrant workers’ agency to exercise their labour rights? What are alternatives forms of workplace organising to support women migrant workers? How do we link migrant worker labor organising efforts with other forms of grassroots organising?
Session 6: Envisioning a feminist future in labour migration
6 August 2021, 1 pm GMT
As the pandemic has shown, the world depends on the work of women, whether in healthcare, elderly and child care or agriculture. As the world shifts its focus to post-pandemic recovery, social justice advocates are calling for structural changes. We ask: If the world of work is changing, what are the chances of producing a feminist world? And how do we get there? As feminists, what changes do we want to see in the arena of labour migration? Do we have examples of where this is already happening? What can we do to make our vision a reality? What power do we have and what gives us hope?
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Women Reframe the Policy Debate in a COVID World
9 April 2021
15:00 SAST (13:00 GMT) (9:00 EDT)
Register at https://MigrationTradeEvent
Global migration and global trade policies may seem very far from the experiences of migrant women around the globe, yet they directly impact migrant women’s lives. In the era of globalised economies, nations and corporations depend on a mobile labour force to meet labour demands while migration policies increasingly pose barriers to mobility that criminalize migrants.
States have pushed for free trade of goods, services and capital while excluding dignified mobility for women and their families. Extractive industries and austerity programs push women from their home, while centres of low-wage industry as well as low wage service and agricultural jobs pull women to other countries, often working in hyper-exploitative situations. Given the role women are often assigned as care givers (both paid and unpaid) in the global economy, migration and migrant women’s work is gendered and racialized.
See an overview on the intersection of gender, trade and migration.
At this critical juncture in the COVID pandemic we explore how the pandemic, which made visible deep structural inequalities, offer a the opportunity for a bottom-up, women-centric approach to international trade and labour architecture.
Lebohang Liepollo Pheko, Moderator, is Senior Research Fellow and political economist with the Trade Collective Think Tank and is currently a Lancet Commissioner on Reparations and Redistributive Justice. She represents the Women in Migration Network in the Gender and Trade Coalition Steering Committee and is a member of the Well Being Economy Alliance. Over the past 12 months she contributed extensively to framing intersectional policy alternatives that centre women in post-COVID economic recovery through various platforms.
Fatimah Kelleher is a Pan African feminist technical adviser/strategist engaged in feminist advocacy, research and advice. Fatimah has worked primarily on African transformational trajectories, with a focus on challenging economic and other development orthodoxies in particular. She is currently associated to Action Aid GB and is also a member of the NAWI collective.
Crecentia Mofokeng is a trade unionist working for the Building and Wood Workers International – BWI, as the Regional Representative for Africa and Middle East Region since 2001. She joined the trade union movement in 1980 and has represented BWI in various International & Regional conferences including ITUC – Africa, ILO, Global Forum on Migration and Development, UN Climate Change Conference, and the BRICS Trade Union Forum. Crecentia is responsible for developing several labour sectors including migration, decent work and women’s development.
Mariama Williams, Ph.D. was the Coordinator of the Sustainable Development, Climate Change and Gender Programme at the South Centre. She is a member of the Caribbean Feminist Action Network (CFAN), and a Director with the Institute of Law and Economics (ILE), Jamaica. Mariama was also a founder of the International Gender and Trade Network and is a steering committee member of DAWN. She is a feminist economist with over 20 years’ experience working on economic development, macroeconomic, trade external debt and finance issues, with a focus on gender equality and women’s empowerment, social equity, sustainable finance and development and climate change issues.
- Lebohang Liepollo Pheko, moderator, for Gender & Trade Coalition and Women in Migration Network: Welcome and opening
- Mariama Williams, Gender & Trade Coalition: the intersection between trade and migration
- Crecentia Mofokeng, Building and Woodworkers International: the link between gendered migration and extractive labour patterns,
- Fatimah Kelleher, Action Aid Great Britain and the NAWI collective: Covid and women-centred approaches to international trade and labour architecture
Panel discussion and Q & A
Panel interaction: States as enablers of the dignified movement of women
Q & A and audience discussion