Migrant Women, Confronting the Realities of Racism and Sexism in Settlement Process
The migration and resettlement is not just about geographic relocation but also about transference from a particular type of society to another for all individuals. For many women arrival to Australia has a significant meaning in marking the end of a journey undertaken to preserve her life and the future of her family. However migrant women arrive to Australia from different countries with differing levels of development, industrialisation and traditions. The impact of migration for women affects the primary functions of the individuals and families in such areas as socialization, social control, gender roles, caring responsibilities, decision making processes, transmission of culture and values, economic relationships, and psychological well-beings. In the process of settlement, which may be a very long-term process, there are many disturbances to relationships in country of origin and these disturbances are not repaired or remedied. This paper explores the issues of settlement of migrant women within the Queensland context. It focuses on the experience of migrant women in urban, regional and rural contexts. The paper analyses the impact of economical and political global event on the migration of women. Settlement related impacts on women such as lack of infrastructure development, support services and community networks are examined. The paper argues that migrant women, despite economic achievement in some cases, are still marginalized. Drawing on action research conducted with migrant women, the paper argues that the reality for many migrant women's settlement issues lie at the intersection of racism and sexism. The paper further argues that issues of gender analysis have disappeared from the policy panorama, which renders migrant women's needs invisible. Furthermore, the stereotypical images of the 'immigrant women' in public discourse as helpless, weak, subservient or as 'black and sexy' brings together the triple jeopardy of gender, class and ethnicity. This paper concludes by examples of empowering practices, which enable immigrant women to build social capital in the context of their new place of settlement and to fully participate in all aspects of life.
Keywords: Settlement, Women, Gender, Racism, Sexism, Globalisation
Coordinator, Centre for Multicultural and Community Development Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences , University of the Sunshine Coast