Women can be crucial facilitators in the integration process. When they have children, they are often multipliers in the areas of education and employment and play an important role as agents for the transfer of values. The positive impact of migrant women’ employment on the social outcomes of their children is well documented.
Still, data and research show that migrant women face multiple disadvantages in comparison with migrant men and native-born women; in particular they have lower activity and employment rates, a higher risk of poverty or social exclusion and are more likely to be in lower skilled/valued occupations. This is true even though migrant women have on average a similar, or slightly better, level of education than migrant men. More adverse integration outcomes in turn can undermine their personal as well as economic independence, increase the risk of vulnerability and social isolation, as well as the risk of suffering mental health issues and low self-esteem. Women perceived as Muslim or of African descent face particular difficulties, in particular due to discrimination in access to the labour market.
Therefore, it is essential to support migrant women and girls to participate in all spheres of society and to promote gender equality. An effective social integration of women in the receiving society, in particular the capacity to interact and feel at ease with the new social environment, can contribute to improved social cohesion and facilitate their integration in the labour market.
Research carried out by the OECD and evaluations of previous AMIF projects supporting migrant women allow drawing some elements that contribute to the success of projects. Availability of childcare, even if informal, during the activities enhances the participation of migrant women. Confidence building, especially for new arrivals, is key and can be provided in a variety of ways, including mentoring schemes or engaging with participants and their families. Experienced migrant women already well established in a community can play a role, for example as mentors, facilitators, or role models. Activities should support integration into the labour market of migrant women be developed to fit local labour market needs and explore less traditional job opportunities. They should also be organised in places easily accessible by migrant women, in particular by public transport. Linking work experience with training and language learning (for example half day each) is beneficial, as well as migrant women participation in activities lasting at least 6 months.
Such activities could include, for example:
Further considerations applicable to this topic
Applicants are also invited to take note of, to avoid duplication with, and to build on projects previously funded by the EU in relation to integration. Applicants may find additional information and useful documents at:
OECD (2018), Catching Up? Country Studies on Intergenerational Mobility and Children of Immigrants.
A number of factors may explain gender differences in outcomes: education level and sills, reason for migration (in particular family versus other categories), proficiency in host-country language, access to integration programmes, access to social support (employment services, childcare) and gender stereotypes. Those who come to the EU for family reasons do not always benefit from integration programmes, skills assessment, re-training and other activation measures available for other immigrants and therefore face large obstacles to overcome their social isolation and integrate in the labour market.
See Section 6 of the Commission’s Staff Working Document of 15 March 2019 on countering racism, xenophobia in the EU. In addition, see also ENAR (2016), 'Forgotten women: the impact of Islamophobia on Muslim women' and “Muslim by default or religious discrimination? Results from a cross-national field experiment on hiring discrimination”
For example, activities organised at times where children are in a childcare setting or at school, or providing a possibility to bring the children and provide informal care arrangements (for example in an adjacent room) during the activities. The geographical proximity of the place where the activities of projects take place and the places women live/ attend should be taken into account.
In particular, attitudes towards women’s economic independence and involvement on the labour market, which depend on balance / involvement of men in domestic and care responsibilities.