Migrant Women, Confronting the Realities of Racism and Sexism in Settlement Process

Mitra Khakbaz
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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
Stream: Immigration, Refugees
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Migrant Women, Confronting the Realities of Racism and Sexism in Settlement Process

Mitra Khakbaz

Coordinator, Centre for Multicultural and Community Development Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences , University of the Sunshine Coast

Mitra Khakbaz is Multicultural and Community Development Centre Coordinator, MA(Applied Linguistics), Postgraduate Diploma of Social Policy, currently completing Master of Social Administration (Community Development), Certificate IV Workplace Assessment and Training She has a background in Community Project Coordinator and Researcher Trainer — Cross-cultural communication, leadership building, conflict resolution, self-awareness, youth development, management committee protocols. Her Research Areas are Multicultural Families and Community Building Project; Community Settlement Officer, Multicultural Development Association; Consultant for Culturally Relevant Client Feedback Project, St Luke's Nursing Service; Consultant for Welcome to Brisbane Project, (part 1) Brisbane City Council; Consultant for Access and Equity Project, Brisbane City Council and Iranian Assoc of Queensland

Ref: D05P0081