Expert Workshop on Female Migrants


An Expert Workshop on "Female Migrants:
Bridging the gaps throughout the life cycle", sponsored by IOM and
the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), was held this week in New

More than 50 participants, including
representatives and experts from countries of origin, transit and
destination from all continents, as well as representatives from
international agencies including the UN Division of the Advancement
of Women, the Special Advisor on the Advancement of Women, World
Bank, ILO and UNIFEM, as well as NGOs and diaspora organizations,
attended the meeting.

Over the past 40 years, female migration has
been on the rise. Women now constitute more than half of the
migrant population worldwide, estimated at 192 million. But there
is still a need for documenting and collecting data related to
female migrants' experiences.

Evidence shows that migration can lead to
women's empowerment as women gain more autonomy, make choices on
their own, become active economic agents and play a central role in
their families left behind. But this does not always occur. The
opportunities for women to migrate legally have been more limited
than for men, often because recruitment efforts are frequently
aimed at male-dominated employment sectors.

In this respect, female migrants do not
benefit in their country of origin from the same support system and
they are often left with no option but irregular migration, and
exposed to worse forms of abuse due to their dual vulnerability as
migrants and women.

Because women migrants often work in
gender-segregated and unregulated sectors of the economy, they are
at a much higher risk of gender discrimination, human trafficking
and violence. Female migrants that return to their country of
origin after several years empowered and with new ideas, also face
new social challenges as they have to adjust to their societies and

The workshop specifically focused on
identifying the gaps and challenges through the life cycle of
female migrants, migration trends, the reproductive health needs of
migrant women, migration and human rights, violence against women
migrants and human trafficking of women and girls, filling research
gaps relating to migration and sex-disaggregated data, and
government policies that can play a positive role in the
empowerment of women migrants.

Participants agreed on the importance of
gender segregated data collection and ratification of protection
mechanisms and stressed the importance of sharing best practices
and lessons learned amongst all stakeholders. The need for
coherence in policies among national government ministries as well
as international stakeholders was underlined. Emphasis was also
given to bilateral frameworks to discourage irregular

IOM and UNFPA will compile and publish the
presentations and recommendations of this workshop, which was
organized as a contribution to the discussions leading up to the
United Nations High-Level Dialogue on International Migration and
Development at the General Assembly in September 2006.

For more information contact:

Anke Strauss

IOM New York

Tel: +1-212-681-7000 ext. 203

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