Migrant Women na hÉireann launch empowerment manifesto
Migrant women from dozens of organisations have come together as Migrant Women na hÉireann to launch a pre-election manifesto outlining their priorities ahead of Ireland’s 2019 local and European elections.
Salome Mbugua, Head of Operation & Strategy, AkiDwA, said, “In a fortnight’s time Ireland will be going to the polls for local and European elections. As a collective, we wanted to highlight the incredible work undertaken in communities across Ireland every day by migrant women. These efforts are rarely acknowledged as despite one in eight of us being from a migrant background, the migrant woman is too often a forgotten part of Irish society.”
Nusha Yonkova, Gender & Anti-trafficking Expert, Immigrant Council of Ireland, said, “It is also an opportunity to ask all candidates and political parties to acknowledge the contribution migrant women are making and the inherent challenges they and their communities face especially in relation to accessing work, housing, education, appropriate healthcare including mental and reproductive health services, as well as their particular vulnerability in relation to gender based violence.”
Sandra Ruiz, local election candidate and co-founder Migrant Women United, said, “Being able to work is massively important for personal dignity and it is one of the most effective ways to integrate. However migrant women face multiple barriers amounting to structural discrimination accessing the labour market, including challenges getting qualifications recognised, access to affordable childcare as many of us lack the family and social networks others might have, plus unconscious bias from employers when it comes to unfamiliar names and international accents. Pro-active efforts by the state and employers to promote the positives of diversity are desperately needed as is the need for more migrant women in leadership positions.”
Emilia Marchelewska, Health Advocacy Officer/ Mental Health Project Lead, Cairde, said, “Among the barriers migrant women face accessing healthcare are information provision and cultural sensitivity. Too often women might not know their healthcare rights and not enough is done to communicate with communities, especially when it relates to more sensitive issues such as mental and reproductive healthcare. We need language and culturally competent mainstream health services complemented by targeted peer-led outreach to more hard-to-reach communities. Collecting and monitoring data on ethnicity and both access to and use of services, alongside full implementation of the current health strategies and policies would be a useful first step.”
Rosemary Kunene, Voices of Migrant Ireland, said, “Access to education is arguably the most important tool to support people to achieve their potential. It is therefore cruelly important those from a migrant background are fully supported to access education and proactive efforts are made to overcome the barriers they face, including targeted resources where necessary. Recent research revealed seven in 10 people in Ireland believe refugee and asylum seeking children should have equal access to education and training, it is time we see effective measures to make this a reality.”
Teresa Buczkowska, Integration Coordinator, Immigrant Council of Ireland, said, “Underpinning our manifesto is a joint commitment to end racism in Irish society. Sadly our experience has shown a key barrier in getting a job, accessing education, getting effective healthcare and support is systemic racism. As a collective and society we are fully committed to calling for measures to tackle racism including the introduction of effective hate crime legislation and a National Action Plan Against Racism.”
Note to editors
Migrant Women na hÉireann launched their empowerment manifesto ahead of the upcoming local and European elections today at 2pm at Buswells Hotel, Molesworth Street, Dublin 2.
Spokespeople on the headline topics are available for media interviews.
Pippa Woolnough, Communications and Advocacy Manager,
firstname.lastname@example.org, 085 864 0682
Shan Kelly, Communications Officer, AkiDwA
email@example.com, 086 664 1667