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The United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women. United Methodist Women is an active participant in this annual global gathering, especially through its Church Center for the United Nations. 

Women’s Migration: A Global Issue

Includes video
International activists strategize on ways to advocate for and with women migrants. 

On March 12, 2015 United Methodist Women co-organized with the Women and Global Migration Working Group a popular workshop on Women’s Migration, Flawed Development Strategies and the Way Forward at the Church Center of the United Nations.

The goal was to bring “a gender perspective to the discussion of migrant rights,” according to Carol Barton, executive with United Methodist Women. Topics ranged from the forces that drive women to migrate to the legal protections needed for women to stay safe.

The impact of migration on women is not simply an awareness of the “migrant women, because women who stay behind are also impacted.” The international activists highlighted facts about women’s migration, but more importantly, the international delegates sought to build alliances through small group discussions, strategizing on policies, rights, and coalitions.

The panelists included Kate Sheill, an advocate at Global Alliance Against Traffic Women, and Mirtha Colon, with NALACC, National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities.

Another panelist, Cathy Tactaquin of the National Network for Immigrant Rights and Migrant Rights International noted that the world’s women are faring better than twenty years ago when the Beijing gathering first shed light on international migrant rights movement. However, Ms. Tactaquin said, there is much work still to do.

“It’s especially important now, 20 years later, to reflect back on the Beijing Platform and on the past 20 years.” said Ms. Tactaquin. “We are astounded by the mass increase in global migration and the feminization of migration and the increase in children migrating.”

“We want to explore the sources that have given rise to the forced migration of women,” explained Jennifer Meneses, a representative with the Board of Women’s Work, United Methodist Church in the Philippines. “The labor export is now the major solution for saving the bankrupt Philippines economy. As of December 2014, 12 to 15 million Filipinos work abroad. Women make up more than half, outnumbering men, especially in the service sector. Based on the type of occupations abroad, the maximization of their (women’s) potential remains wanting. The isolation leads to abuse, sexual discrimination, exploitation, violence.”

Ms. Meneses advocates for the strengthening of solidarity and the creative use of “social media to make our demands known.”

Paola Cyment, a delegate supported by United Methodist Women and leader of CAREF, Comisión de Apoyo a Refugiados y Migrantes in Argentina explained that global migration is not viewed as a threat to security but “as instrument of development.” After a long civil struggle in Argentina, new laws have taken hold. “Migrants are recognized as human beings deserving of access to public health and social services,” said Ms. Cyment. “Now migrants are contributing to social security and contributing members of society.”

From Senegal, Fatou Bintou Yafa, the Deputy General Secretary for Women’s Committee of Confederation Nationale des Travailleurs du Senegal, reported, “If conditions in home countries were livable they (women) wouldn’t leave. Migrant workers pay taxes and contribute to social programs that they can’t benefit from… We need to have awareness-raising campaigns. It’s important to encourage cooperation and solidarity. We’ve established listening centers and cooperatives to help guarantee dignity in both origin countries and receiving countries.”

Ishallaa Serrano, with Transgender Law Center, reported on the “transgender, migrant, women of color community.” She said, “Many women who could or should be speaking to you today cannot because they are working or they are incarcerated.” The reality for migrant women, especially trans women, is that they are criminalized, face hate crimes, or are ignored. “Systemic violence impacts our access to jobs, education, health care, leadership positions.”

This workshop was held, like hundreds of others during this week of the Commission on the Status of Women, at the Church Center of the United Nations, the United Methodist Women-owned building across the avenue from the United Nations.

| 3/12/2015 8:09:13 PM | 0 comments
Filed under: csw, CSW59, immigration

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Video (English):

Paola Cyment, a delegate supported by United Methodist Women and leader of CAREF, Comisión de Apoyo a Refugiados y Migrantes in Argentina
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