Women’s Rights in Global Migration Policy

A backgrounder towards the Marrakech Women’s Rights Manifesto

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Women bear a disproportionate share of unpaid work and are often forced to bear the burden of communities and families in crisis, making up for a shortfall in public provisioning. Women experience marginalization, even as many also act as change leaders—addressing issues ranging from access to public services to the need for decent work, from the local impacts of climate change, to housing and land access. Women often carry the weight of families and communities in situations of economic dislocation, conflict, climate-related disasters or social and political exclusion.

Yet, women’s human rights in migration are systematically violated. Women’s priorities and voices are regularly missing from policies and programs purportedly designed to support their work, to protect their bodies, care for their environment and generally impact their lives. With its commitment to make visible women’s human rights, and to take seriously women’s primary concerns, the Global Compact for Migration (GCM) is a major opportunity to correct this generations-old exclusion of women and girls.

 Women are half of some 258 million migrants in the world today. Many are leaders in their communities of origin and when they migrate. Whether while migrating, in their countries of origin or destination, or when they return—women in migration play a crucial role as human rights defenders and in sustaining and rebuilding communities.

 Women face particular migration realities because of their gender in countries of origin, including the inability to migrate, and while in transit, at borders and in destination countries. Women increasingly migrate for work, which is disproportionately precarious and low-wage. Women and girls are particularly impacted by failed development policies that result in climate-related and other displacement, extremely exploitative work, migrating spouses and divided families, increased care burdens, and violence.

While women come from diverse backgrounds and are not a uniform group, women and girls, including LGBTQI[1] women and girls, share the experience of gender inequality in its different manifestations. Women and girls are given different labels while migrating — being called internally displaced, migrants, victims of trafficking, stateless, climate-displaced, refugees or asylum-seekers—but all move seeking safety, autonomy and livelihoods with dignity and rights.

This Women’s Manifesto provides a common platform that affirms our commitment to collective action and an agenda for gender equality and equity in migration policy in the context of sustainable development. This includes government commitments to Agenda 2030, the Sustainable Development Goals, and all post 2015 UN development goals.


[1] Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning, and Intersex

Women in Migration Network   –   Oxfam International

#MeToo: Rural Women, Migrant Women, Sexual Assault, Access to Justice

Please Join the Women in Migration Network (WIMN) UN-CSW 62 Parallel Event

Thursday, 15 March, 10:30am – 12:00pm

Chapel (ground floor), Church Center for the United Nations, E 44th Street and First Avenue

The Context:

As reports emerge about sexual harassment and assault of women, migrant women are hardly visible, though they are systematically placed in situations of greater vulnerability, and by policy, can be denied access to justice. Migration is a continuum within countries and across borders, driven by economic need, lack of decent work and social protections, conflict and climate change. Women face particular challenges in the migration process given their gendered roles in society. The workshop will look at both drivers of migration and migration realities, including gender based violence, access to justice, and women’s organizing in response.

Rural women may transition to urban settings when they are forced to migrate for work, meaning they carry both a rural and urban experience and bridge those two worlds. In fact, their remittances have become critical to the survival of rural families and communities, filling the gap when governments fail to guarantee decent work and social protections in rural communities.

UN member states are negotiating a new Global Compact on Migration in 2018 in New York as the UN-CSW meets. It is the first comprehensive United Nations negotiated agreement on national, regional and global migration policy and migration governance. Advocates are urging member states to create a human-rights based, gender-responsive Compact. The workshop will explore why a strong human rights-based Compact is relevant to the lives of rural migrant women workers and what is at stake. It should address the forces driving migration, particularly for rural women, the reality of gender-based violence, and rights of migrant women workers. Participants will be invited to join a global feminist campaign during the UN-CSW to advocate with Missions while in NY on three critical points related to migrant women in the Global Compact on Migration.

Program format: presentations, open dialogue

Moderator: Yanira Arias, Alianza Americas and WIMN

Realities and Organizing:

Lupe Gonzalo, Coalition of Immokalee Workers; Harvest without Violence Campaign [Melody Gonzalez, Interpreter]

Sneha Mishra, Secretary, Aaina, India, member of GAATW

Global Compact on Migration and Global Migration Policy:

Representative, Women in Migration Network: Why Global Compact is important to these struggles

Representative, Trade Union delegation, critical labour rights concerns in Global Compact related to gender based violence for rural migrant women in the workplace

Action: WIMN: CSW62 Campaign for Women’s Rights in UN Global Compact on Migration – invitation to speak to Missions on key points

Discussion: How can global civil society support efforts to engender the UN Global Compact on Migration? What could implementation accountability look like at local and national level?

Sponsored by: Women in Migration Network, WIMN and

  • • Alianza Americas
  • • Black Alliance for Just Immigration
  • • Coalition of Immokalee Workers
  • • Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women, GAATW
  • • Global Coalition on Migration
  • • Global Migration Policy Associates
  • • International Trade Union Confederation
  • • National Network for Immigrant & Refugee Rights, NNIRR
  • • Solidarity Center
  • • United Methodist Women

WIMN Parallel Event Flyer FINAL

WIMN Parallel CSW 62 Concept Note 2018 FINAL