Catherine Tactaquin: Better Policy Empowering Women

Catherine Tactaquin, Executive Director of the US National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and a member of the Women in Migration Network steering committee is featured in an interview by Open Democracy in preparation for International Women’s Day, How can better policy empower women on the move?
Women experience migration differently than men do, and with the right policies, that can be a source of empowerment more than a source of risk.

Stories of Women in Migration

The Women & Global Migration Working Group focuses on Women IN Migration. This goes beyond migrant women to explore the realities of all women affected by migration, including:

* women whose families are separated when husbands or children migrate

* women searching for lost loved ones along the migrant trail

* women forced to migrate with family members for safety or economic reasons

* women who move to escape domestic or anti-LGBT violence

* women detained, trafficked or exploited in transit while trying to migrate

* women who migrate on short term labour contracts

* women who are forced to return home, often leaving children behind

* women who seek opportunities at home so they are not forced to migrate

At the 60th UN Commission on the Status of Women, the Working Group has created a participatory workshop to explore women in migration in the context of the global inequalities, looking at different ways that survival migration affects women. During the session 15 stories of women in migration will be explored. You can read them here. This is the beginning of a larger project to gather these stories. Your contributions are welcome, at

Akina – Kenya “Right to Remain at Home”

Brenda – Honduras to Mexico “Woman Who Remains in Transit”

Parwana – Afghanistan to Germany “Woman Refugee Seeking Asylum”

Berta – Honduras “Right to Remain Home”    Spanish

Rebeca – El Salvador to US “Refugee from Violence, Without Status”     Spanish

Viola – Zimbabwe to South Africa “Young Migrant Woman”

Laura – Mexico to US “Transgender Undocumented Migrant”

Bea – Philippines to Denmark “Undocumented Migrant Woman”

Ambar – Dominican Republic to Argentina “Trafficked Migrant Woman”

Mrs. Sheik – India to Kuwait to Saudi Arabia “Migrant Woman Contract Worker”

Fabiola – Dominican Republic to Haiti “Stateless Due to Racism”    Spanish

Blanca – El Salvador to Mexico “Missing Migrant Son”

Cristina – Philippines “Woman Who Remains Home”

Iscah – Kenya to Saudi Arabia “Migrant Woman Contract Worker”

Alimata – Burkina Faso “Woman Whose Partner Migrates”

Teresa – El Salvador to US “Threatened by Gangs, Abused by Immigration”     Spanish

Mariana – Mexico to US “A Bittersweet Journey”

Maria – Mexico to US “Fleeing to Be Valued as a Woman”



Grid- Government Accountability on SDGs     Spanish

WGMWG at the 2014 Commission on the Status of Women

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The Women’s Global Migration Working Group was active at the NGO Forum to the United Nations Convention on the Status of Women in New York. On Thursday, March 13, 2014, WGMWG conducted a workshop at the forum entitled Flipping the Post-2015 Development Discourse: Promoting Accountability for Women and Migrant Human Rights & Social Protection.

The aim of the workshop was to bring attention to the role powerful actors have in creating policies that under-develop communities, regions, and nations.  Any  Sustainable Development Goals that do not address power relations regarding decision-making and resources are likely to fail. While social protections such as healthcare, education and income security are guaranteed in human rights law, they are denied to millions of people due to the redirection of resources to elites. While the lack of access to social protection often causes women to migrate to new countries, they often find they are denied protection in destination countries as well. The interactive workshop allowed attendees to look at the state of social protection in their own countries, identify policies and actors that block the delivery of economic and social human rights, and examine strategies to hold state and non-state actors accountable.

The workshop was facilitated by Catherine Tactaquin of National Network for Immigrant & Refugee Rights and Migrant Rights International; Carol Barton of United Methodist Women; and Bhumika Muchhala of Third World Network. Speakers at the workshop included Sr. Lissy Joseph of Migrant Forum Asia who organizes Domestic Workers in India; Monami Maulik, the Executive Director of Desis Rising Up and Moving/ DRUM in New York City; and Marieke Koning of the International Trade Union Confederation in Brussels. [Click here to read more about the workshop written by Tara Barnes of United Methodist Women.]

This workshop was only the beginning to a larger conversation around the need for accountability in social protection for women and migrants. WGMWG invites you to contribute your knowledge and experience. How does social protection look in your country? Why?

Click here to view and contribute to a working document on social protection policies in international human rights law and development agendas – a tool for national accountability.

Click here to fill out a social protection report card for your country.

Send your suggestions/additions to