The Agency of Migrant Women & Integration

Women, Migration and Activism in EU

  •  The unjustified generalisations of migrant women >> the integrative approaches which ignores the experiences of skilled migrants

>> contextualisation of the experience of different women without creating essentialist assumptions on the basis of a common female id.

– How does the relations of gender interact with class, race and ethnicity?

– immigration with/without legal residence status: the label of ‘illegality’ on immigrants

  • The affect of the framing of the place of women to migrant women: women are considered as dependent on their male partners for both legal and economic rights. >> migrant women are forced into positions of dependency and vulnerability, thus stop them from engaging in activism in public sphere

the underlying assumption constructs a primarily domestic role for them

  •  gender inequalities in their country of origin(within their own community) + host countries >> isolate women in a domestic arena


Integration and Multiculturalism

the concept of Ethnocultural groups vs minorities

  • ethnocultural groups trying to carry out their lives through negotiation and compromise with each other

>> this does not represent the way of life of the mainstream, which is typically preferred by the dominant group and the public institution they created. (the cultures each groups possess are weighted equally, regardless of their sizes or power)

>> in this sense, non of the groups are assumed to be assimilated by the others

–> a multidimensional concept

Psychological view:

  1. There is a desire to maintain the group’s culture and identity
  2. There is a desire to engage in daily interaction with other ethnocultural groups in the larger society, including the dominant one
  • However, not all groups seek to engage in intercultural relations in the same way (i.e. various alternatives, assumption of eventual assimilation –> from attitudes to strategies

Freedman, J. (2008). Women, Migration and Activism in Europe. Amnis, (8).

Week 1 & 2 Meeting

In week 1 and week 2, we discussed about our subjects of interest, and decided to work on topics in relation to feminism, immigration, integration, multiculturalism and national identity, and decided to focus on female immigrants and refugees. Especially focusing on how are the immigrant families integrated into local communities, and how the government  policy have influence on this. We found out that some of the phrases in this topic are problematic and need further definition. For instance: what does ‘integration’ mean? Does it mean assimilate the immigrants, or embracing different cultures that are brought into the countries by them? Also in terms of immigrant families (especially women who enter the countries through marriage), we questions why the private sphere/lives as a family will be doubted and discussed as an issue in public, and being interfered by the government. As for refugees, it is noticeable that the voice of female refugees are usually not heard, yet they face many dangers that male refugees are less possible to encounter with, such as sexual abuse etc.

The potential research questions we comes up in the first two meeting are:

  • What are the gendered differences in the experience of seeking refuge- , immigrating or integrating? Gender based violence that targets women exclusively
  • Feminist critique of state institutions that perpetrate discrimination in regard to immigrant women specifically.
  • Lack of labour market integration of migrant women, gender differences in societal integration
  • Challenging mainstream immigration policies, which often focus on the male migrant worker, reinforcing a model of migrant women as unskilled, economically financially dependent, fulfilling the role of caretaker and assistance to the husband.

Normative aspects, ethics of immigration

Start with debate on contested terms: integration, nations

National community – Otherness. How do national community reinvent themselves in relation to what is considered Other and foreign?

Sources: documentaries, policy, discourse.

The definition of ‘integration’ from Migration Policy Institute

The definition of ‘integration’ from Migration Policy Institute:

The three levels of integration of immigrants: individual immigrants(housing, employment, education etc.), collective level of immigrants group(organisation of immigrants as the expression of mobilized resources), institution


  • 1. public institutions of receiving societies
  • 2. institutions of the immigrants (a specific group, cultural base institution)
  • → a visible conflict between the different idea of integration: accepting the value of receiving society or keeping & enhancing immigrants’ identity

Between Integration and Exclusion: Migrant Women in European Labor Markets

Here is an article published by Migration Policy Institute demonstrating the situation of migrant women in labour market, in which the author Maria Kontos points out the differences between migrant women who enter European countries in previous immigration flow, and are accepted by labour market with relative ease, and the new female migrants who face closed labour market with limited places offered. Kontos also indicates that the diverse way they enter the countries affect the opportunities they have as well.

Between Integration and Exclusion