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Project News: MIgration EU eXpertise (MIEUX) discusses gender in migration policy-making during the European Development Days 2018

5 June 2018

Moderated by ICMPD’s Head of Policy, Malin Frankenhaeuser, the 75-minute session on 5 June explored gender in migration policy-making through three case studies from MIEUX interventions in Costa Rica, Madagascar and Sierra Leone. These examples illustrated how the concept of gender is framed within all stages of the policy cycle; what would be the role of policies in protecting migrant women and girls; and how policies could enable their full economic, social and political empowerment.

Every year in June, the European Development Days (EDDs) gather European development actors for a two-day event. This year’s theme“Wo men and Girls at the Forefront of Sustainable Development: protect, empower, invest”, brings together the European Union's commitment to gender equality and women's empowerment with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

“This session is timely: it comes at a time when the international community is reflecting on a new overall framework for migration through the negotiations for the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. ICMPD offers its experiences as examples to draw inspiration from, and ultimately to feed into this global collective process of reflection on the future of migration,” Malin Frankenhaeuser, ICMPD Head of Policy, stated.

As part of the activities planned for its ten-year anniversary celebration, the joint EU-ICMPD MIgration EU eXpertise (MIEUX) Initiative organised the session “Gender in migration policy-making: between protection and empowerment”  on 05 June with the European Commission’s Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO) and three speakers from MIEUX interventions in Costa Rica, Madagascar and Sierra Leone to explore how migration policies can protect and empower the estimated 122 million migrant women and girls worldwide.

“One of the fastest-rising areas for requests of assistance under MIEUX is migration policy development. Through the examples from Costa Rica, Madagascar and Sierra Leone, we hope to start a conversation with development and migration practitioners, shedding light on current gaps and incorporating forward-thinking suggestions for the future,” Oleg Chirita, ICMPD’s Programme Coordinator Global Initiatives, reflected.

“We know that migration affects men and women differently - from the decisions that drive individuals to migrate, to the effect that migration has on family, community and social relations. So it’s interesting to explore certain key dimensions, for example; how is gender conceived in a migration policy? How can we surpass the traditional gender-neutral lens in migration policy-making? When thinking about migrant women; how can we go from framing them as a vulnerable group to an approach that fosters their potential for empowerment?” he added.

Estimated at roughly 48% of migrant stock worldwide, women have always migrated in similar proportion to men. However, in recent years, the term ‘feminisation of migration’ reflects the growing tendency of women and girls to migrate on their own and no longer just because of family reunification. This brings new challenges, connected to increased vulnerability during the migration cycle, but also new opportunities, as migrant women and girls gain access to employment, education and financial resources. It seems that gender within migration is currently perceived, and legislated on, from the perspective of two opposing poles: protection and empowerment.

Yesterday’s event is one of many activities taking place throughout 2018 to commemorate the ten years of existence of the MIEUX Initiative: by combining the launch of new publications with a series of events during 2018, MIEUX wishes to reflect upon its achievements while offering new and consolidated practical examples of cooperation between EU and partner countries in all areas of migration.

For more information, visit the MIEUX website.