II International Congress “All the women who live in me”

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The world is big, but in the 21st century it shouldn’t be foreign,” said Professor Alba Carosio.

Between April 20-22, 2022, was held at Esperanza College in Philadelphia, PA.

“The main objective is to serve as a platform for the empowerment and well-being of women, to make voices and experiences known, regardless of latitude and thus to be a starting point for the construction of a space for formation and reflection by and for women”, it is underlined on the website of the Comprehensive Center for Mother Earth Women, the organization which produced the event.

During the third and last day of this congress, the main theme revolved around the drama of migrant women, in particular the challenges they face today.

In a valuable presentation, given by the Venezuelan professor Alba Carosio, researcher in feminist studies and Latin American thought, who directs the Venezuelan journal of women’s studies, published by the CEM of Venezuela, an x-ray was presented which exposes the difficult situations that these women have to go through to try to lead a dignified life without forgetting their roots.

“There are economic reasons, travel, family reasons, the search for new horizons, opportunities for personal growth, but there are also general trends that attract female migration in the world. Sorrows and expectations that shape the future of women in their diversity and in the opportunities of departure (their country of origin), mobility and reception,” said Professor Carosio.

According to UN Women data shared by Carosio, the female gender accounts for almost half of the 244 million migrants and half of the 19.6 million refugees worldwide. In addition, the remittances these women send improve the livelihoods and health of their families while helping to strengthen the economy.

With information from 2020, it is estimated that 19% of walkers in Venezuela are minors, and 25% are women, of which 3.7% are pregnant.

Other figures that must be taken into account for the actions of these women in their transit through the world are:

  • Migrants, especially women, have higher activity rates than non-migrants, 72.7% versus 63.9%.
  • It is estimated that one in six domestic workers worldwide is an international migrant, with women representing 73.4% of the total of these employees.

Professor Carosio also highlighted what she sees as “push and pull factors”, which are the triggers that push these women to leave their country and embark on this journey around the world in search of best conditions. Among the most important are:

  • Economic factors: Unemployment, job insecurity, low wages.
  • Socio-political factors: Ethnic, religious, racial, political or cultural persecution and gender-based violence.
  • Environmental and war factors: Natural disasters and wars.
  • Cultural factors: Search for better educational opportunities.
  • Family factors: The desire for a reunion between separated family members.

Carosio also socialized some data from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) on the “top four reasons” migrants come to the United States:

  1. They seek better living conditions.
  2. They escape situations of family and community violence.
  3. They try to reunite with their families.
  4. They are looking for a job that allows them to provide for the financial needs of their children.

Carosio also pointed out that, according to the IOM, in Latin America 50.1% of migrants are women, which means that they currently migrate in greater numbers than men.

Professor Carosio also spoke of the double discrimination that migrant women face, where racism and xenophobia are serious issues they have to deal with on a daily basis, while anti-immigrant sentiment continues to rise in various countries around the world. .

With this gray panorama for migrants, the challenges are:

  • Preserve their cultural heritage, without this meaning being marginalized or segregated.
  • Participate in the new society, find ways to interact with the culture of the host country and with its social dynamics.
  • Maintain their physical and psychological stability during and after the acculturation process.

Carosio concluded her presentation by emphasizing that these challenges can be overcome with less trauma if migrant women rely on the efforts of various networks, which are nothing more than “the bonds of solidarity and expected bonds of trust that serve as sources of social capital and which enable their members to access, among other benefits, economic and cultural resources and special humanitarian assistance”.

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