What political, social and economic obstacles do minority women face in the process of immigration and integration in contemporary Western Europe?
Is gender a differentiating factor in minority women’s experience of immigration and integration?
- Primary agent of exclusion: the economic market
- Constructed conceptions of womanhood: inclusion or assimilation?
- Political treatment of minority women: differentiated path to citizenship
- Immigration, Asylum seeking: how general analyses of immigration / asylum seeking do not take into account the gendered differentiations. How policies based on such analysis turn out to damage women.
- The unjustified generalisations of migrant women
- Discrimination of minority women: multi-layered identities make them more vulnerable to discrimination, violence and violation of their rights.
- Defining key terms: conception of immigrant v. refugee, integration, assimilation.
2. Primary agent of exclusion: the economic market
- Complexity of the diversity of experiences in terms of economic well-being according to gender, ethnicity and intra-ethnicity identity.
- Experience of specific minority migrants (and their descendents): Quantitative (hard statistical data) / Qualitative research (personal experience and perception)
- Neoliberalism: free market model turns out to be exclusive and harmful towards minorities.
- Institutionalised racism.
3. Constructed conceptions of womanhood: inclusion or assimilation?
- Integration of Immigrants: Personal – Family – State
- Immigrants are perceived as a homogenous group, with no differentiation between men and women in the process of immigration/integration
- The fear of integrating: the image of women is linked to an idealised notion of home, thus connected with the fundamental structures of society.
- The image of women is forced into dichotomies: ‘minority women becoming visible and audible only as domestic violence victims or rendered invisible if they do not conform to this identity.’
4. Political treatment of minority women: differentiated path to citizenship
- Immigration and social integration are gendered issues. (Kofman 1999, Sinke 2006)
- Political effects of austerity: Ghettoization: isolation within communities, which intensify minority women’s exposure to patriarchal oppression (gang rape, crime, forced marriage etc.)
- Securitisation of immigration: migrant women are put under explicit scrutiny.
- Secular policies disproportionately impact minority religious women: 2004 ban on the headscarf, 2010 ban of the burqa.
- Explicit discrimination again an infinitely marginal part of the national population: at the time of the law, roughly 1900 women wore the burqa in France, thereby representing no more than 0.04% of the French Muslim population, and less than 0.003% of the french population.
Restrictive access to citizenship rights
- Sexual democracy: refers to the way in which democracy seeks to accommodate and appropriate sexuality. In this model, sexuality is seen as a vital aspect of democracy, citizenship, etc. Discrimination occurs at the ‘private’ level, pervading areas such as sexuality, body image, one’s choice of partner, children’s rights, etc.
- Strong emphasis on Muslim women’s relation to their bodies and the way they dress. Muslim women’s dress-code is constructed as a threat to public order, and associated with oppression, terrorism and extreme religious belief: securitisation theory.
- PM Manuel Valls ‘The headscarf, which prevents women from being who they are, remains for me, and must remain for the Republic an essential fight.’ (Europe 1, Feb. 2013)