Education for migrant women: study calls for gender mainstreaming

education for migrant women
© iStock/akubovAlim

Research into the education and training of migrant women across the EU has identified a need to tailor courses for women.

7.5% of the EU’s residents were born in a third country; and young people from a migrant background are nearly twice as likely as those born in the EU to be out of education, employment or training. The study by the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) investigated education provision for migrants from third countries in Germany, Greece, France, Italy and Sweden between 2017 and 2018; with a focus on promoting gender equality in educational initiatives. The study found that policies governing education and integration for third country migrants were largely devoid of consideration for the particular challenges faced by women.

Director of EIGE Virginija Langbakk said: “Effective integration of migrants can contribute to tackling the challenges of ageing societies and labour market shortages in the European Union. The practices from France, Germany, Greece, Italy, and Sweden show what works and how governments can adjust policies and measures to target the different needs of women and men migrants and enable their contribution to their host country and society.”

The study found that education programmes designed for third country nationals typically take a ‘one size fits all’ approach which does not take into account the differing needs of women and men, while initiatives targeted specifically at women commonly aim to address their perceived vulnerability and family needs. Integration programmes for women are largely centred around providing support for family management, even though highly skilled women represent a greater proportion of the migrant population than either low-skilled women or highly skilled men.

The EIGE’s report states: ‘As one of the founding values of the EU, gender equality should contribute significantly to integration policies and measures, including these of education and training…[t]he application of gender mainstreaming in all stages of the policy cycle would ensure migrant integration and education policies address the specific needs of both women and men.’


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