Washington D.C. March 8th, 2016
The Embassy of Mexico in the United States hosted a discussion panel today on Women and Immigration to mark International Women’s Day, and to strengthen awareness of the needs and challenges that migrant women face.
The panel was also an opportunity to provide information regarding resources available to women through the 50 consulates of the Mexican consular network in the U.S.
Since the 70s there has been a feminization of migration, with more women traveling alone or with their children. The rising number of American women in the workforce has also increased demand for immigrant women to take care of children, the elderly and the disabled.
Understanding gender in the context of migration is essential to better serve migrant women; when traveling alone, women are often victims of sexual abuse and human trafficking.
“Criminalization of migrants increases vulnerabilities of women and girls in destination countries. The Mexican Government is continuously looking for better ways to support and empower women”, said Mexican Ambassador to the U.S. Geronimo Gutierrez. “When women thrive, whole countries succeed”, he added.
The panel was moderated by the Deputy Chief of Mission, Mrs. Ana Luisa Fajer, and featured panelists were:
Maureen Meyer, Senior Associate for Mexico from the Washington Office for Latin America (WOLA); Hilary Anderson, Senior Gender Specialist at Inter-American Commission on Women at the Organization of American States (OAS); and Claudette Monroy, Education Specialist and a DREAMER.
In Latin America, “women are increasingly fleeing El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to protect themselves and their children from violence and extortion. Neighboring countries, including Mexico and the United States, should continue to work to ensure that these women and children are effectively screened and receive the protection that they need”, mentioned Meyer.
The Mexican Consular Network in the US began operating new or improved Centers for the Legal Defense of Mexican immigrants this month, providing consular assistance as well as legal representation through a strengthened network of attorneys, NGOs and law schools.
“This effort aims to protect migrant workers, especially the most vulnerable, which are usually women and girls, by assuring that their rights as human beings and workers are respected according to international human rights standards”, said Ambassador Gutierrez.
Mrs. Anderson said that "the international legal framework for the protection of the human rights of migrant workers and their families, domestic workers and victims of trafficking is strong, but there is still a need to look at national and local contexts to ensure that these principles are respected in the day-to-day lives of migrant women”.
Despite all the difficulties, women migrants tend to remit more of their income back home than male migrants. They are significant financial contributors to their homes, a strong force of endurance in the US and great example to their children, who have a strong will to improve their lives.
“My family is made up of strong and resilient women who work hard and who strive to be the best versions of themselves. We were raised to have big dreams, fight for them, and also to be generous and contribute to our community”, said Claudette Monroy, who is a DREAMER and was a panelist at the event.