Prince Henrik of Denmark, the Queen’s husband died died last February 13 just a few minutes before midnight in their Winter palace in Fredensborg. Friday, the 16th of February I went to the Amalienborg Castle to see the bed of flowers.
I met a lot of Filipinos in Denmark who has lived in this country for more than 30 years but they did not change their citizenship. They refused to give up or renounce their Filipino citizenship because of many reasons. One couple who are active in the church told me that they cannot afford to lie because they are always still Filipinos. Having a foreign passport will be a disadvantage to former Filipinos who plans to own properties in the Philippines. According to the provisions of the Philippine Republic Act 8179 only 1000 square meters of urban land or 1 hectares of rural land are allowed.
Finally foreign nationals can acquire Danish citizenship without renouncing their citizenship effective September 1, 2015. It also allows former Danish citizens who lost to reacquire their citizenship. Please read the following link for more details on multiple nationality.
Year 2014, I’m not only a blogger but a radio personality, which I think it suits me better because I like to talk and I talk a lot. I started to host the Radio program called “BUHAY AUPAIR” meaning Au Pair’s Life. Every week my co- host Emely Manus and I interview present and former au pairs about their life as aupairs and their adventures in their host country. The guest talks about their experiences like how they applied and the challenges of living with their host with different culture and language, how they learned to become independent and appreciate the freedom in European countries, and how to cope out with homesickness being away from their family and a lot more. This a good way to reach out to the au pairs to learn from the guest experiences and of course I see to it to talk about the rules, rights nad obligations of the aupairs. The language we use in the program is Filipino or tagalog .
Buhay Aupair is aired every Sunday 12.00-13.00 CET (Central European Time) at www.pinoyradionordic.com and www.pinoyradiobenelux.com or you can download the apps in any Android devices.
This is made possible by the Philippine Channel Network (CPN) whose advocacy is to reach out to the Filipino migrants living in Europe.
A Glimpse of Filipino Culture! An afternoon of sharing Filipino Culture and Traditions
Babaylan-Denmark is inviting Filipino Au Pairs, Host Families and Friends to an afternoon of sharing Filipino culture, values and traditions, “A Glimpse of Filipino Culture!”
Through the years, Babaylan has been conducting Cross Cultural Orientations for Filipino Au Pairs to provide them with important information about their legal rights, and better understanding of the Danish Culture and Society.
“A Glimpse of Filipino Culture”, is, however, an event that will focus more on the Host Families and Friends of Au Pairs. This event will serve as an opportunity to introduce some of our Filipino traditions and values to host families, and help them understand and appreciate better the presence of an “additional” member of the family.
A Glimpse of Filipino Culture!
An afternoon of sharing Filipino culture, values & traditions with Host Families, Au Pairs & Friends.
(Food, booth, songs, dances, games & cultural shows)
March 3, 2012
Kl. 12 – 17
Vangedevej 178, 2820 Dyssegård, Gentofte
Please call or SMS to confirm participation.
Tel. no.+45 5034 8835 or email: email@example.com/>
The majority of Filipinas living in Denmark find their place in Danish society through the home: as wives/girlfriends, mothers, or au pairs. In building cross-cultural relationships, many questions arise. Some of these are:
• What is the Filipina attitude towards work and family?
• Why are holidays like Christmas so important?
• In what ways are Danes and Filipinas similar/different?
• Why are songs and dances so important for Filipinos?
• Why do working Filipinas send a good portion of their income home?
We will discuss these questions and many more about Filipino culture. The goal is to create opportunities for better understanding of each other’s culture in a fun and exciting way, to foster closer relations/partnerships between Filipinas and their host families
We encourage you to come and join us for a memorable afternoon. (Children are of course welcome.)
We hope to see you soon!
Et indblik I den Filippinske kultur
Så er muligheden der endelig for en hyggelig eftermiddag for au pairs og deres værts familier. Kom og deltag i en kulturel udveksling for at få en bedre forståelse for den Filippinske kultur.
Dette vil foregå via præsentationer, mulighed for at stille spørgsmål til et panel, mad, boder, sang, dans og andre aktiviteter.
Størstedelen af Filippinske kvinder i Danmark finder deres plads i samfundet som, koner/kærester, mødre eller au pairs. Når vi skal bygge broer imellem vores forskellige kulturer danner der sig ofte nogle spørgsmål. Nogle af disse kunne lyde:
• Hvordan er Filippinsk attitude i forhold til arbejde og familie?
• Hvorfor er helligdage så som jul så vigtige?
• På hvilke måder er Danskere og Filippinere ens/forskellige?
• Hvorfor er sang og dans så vigtig for Filippinere?
• Hvorfor sender arbejdende Filippinere en god portion af deres indkomst hjem til deres familier?
Dette og meget mere vil der være mulighed for at få et større indblik i. Formålet er at skabe en større forståelse for hinanden og gøre det på en sjov og spændende måde, for dermed at skabe tættere relationer/sammenarbejde imellem Filippinere og deres værtsfamilier.
Hello World is the first posting from a wordpress blog and hello christmas since today is Dec.1
Hello it has been a long time since I post here I don’t know why but maybe a blogger’s block. Reading some of the old post here I realized how exciting it was for me to post something I care about family, traditions and my advocacies but then blog is like life it has it’s up and down. Don’t get me wrong, I love my life. I’m blessed with a nice man who supports me and my adorable son. These past 2 years there’s a lot of interesting things to write not only about my life but all the things that I care about but I just can’t. I’m still active in my organization and giving free counselling in the Filipina Aupair Network Facebook fan page which I mange alone with 2,550 members.
I somehow managed to cross a bit out of my cocoon when I finished my dissertation report which I did for less than 3 weeks. I know the topic very well and it was so overwhelming cause it was my specialization but in the end I still have to struggle putting everything into written form but it went fine and my report passed.
So what is wrong?. Nothing is wrong with me but maybe one thing was living in Denmark which was governed by liberals with the support and influence of a right-wing party who hates foreigners makes me loss my appetite to write something positive. When I came here the government who was new at that time started to imposed new rules for foreigners which also affected my staying although we did not pay the cash bond I was under the new rules.
After 10 years the parties in the government it was exhausting but now we have a new government composed of parties in the left and the first woman Prime Minister, they changed most of the strict and rolled back into more acceptable rules. Of course my life is better than it was in the Philippines but it’s not perfect. And there also a dark cloud hanging over us, the financial crisis so I hope and pray that soon it will be alright.
Blogging is like life it got it’s up and down. We want it to be perfect but it’s impossible cause you learn from the trials and imperfection which makes stronger and ready to face another challenge. Sometimes I want to write something very meaningful but then I have high expectation I forgot that this is not a thesis that I need to prove something and wats to get high-grade but this just my journal although it would be nice to write grammatically perfect articles but who cares this blog is still mine I don’t write just because I need to earn. My advisor in my report told me when I was trying to follow all the guidelines in doing a report, that write in your english, don’t use american or british english but your english. But like life blog has to be nurtured back to life by posting and reestablish connections to readers so inspite of my busy schedule I will try once in while to vent out my frustrations and triumphs.
I met one strong and empowered Filipina from Australia who also read this blog and told I should see the movie starring Meryl Streep as Julia Child and the blogger Julie and I saw it finally 2 months ago and it was nice cause I love everything about food. But it was not all about food it was a story of Julie who started blogging because of boredom and lack of challenge so she started to cook all the recipes in Julia Child’s recipe and in the end she became known and actually the film was based on her blog success. My point is Julia Child did not became famous she was a good cook to begin with but she love cooking for her husband and the French cuisine but by overcoming the challenges that lead her to write the book. She was frowned upon by the Head of the cooking school but she proved that she can do it and with her determination her book became famous and she became a household name.
Today is 1st of December and it means christmas is fast approaching and it means family time in the Philippines. December is high season for all the airlines because millions of Filipinos around the world wants to join their families during this special occasion. We were at my son’s kindergarten to join the staff, children and parents the christmas lunch as my son reminded us (Christmas lunch is Danish tradition which equals to christmas party in the Philippines) . They served æbleskiver and glogg og I don’t know how to translate that in English ok I’ll try æble skiver are made of flour with eggs the same one when you do a pancake. Æble skiver means apple slices but there’s no apple but maybe they form into circles like apples and then put in to this special pan at left or in the oven as we always buy frozen ones.
Gløgg as translated in google is mulled wine but I don’t know if that’s right. It is a mixture of wine with sugar, chopped almonds, raisins which is drink hot because they cooked a caramelized sugar with the alcohol while mixing the other ingredients. I find it nice to drink especially during this cold months.
Later we went to the backyard and danced around to a tall christmas tree while singing christmas songs together with Santa Claus and his wife. It was fun.
My life has been colorful and wonderful and I thank God for that. Looking back and I cherish all the memories especially during our childhood together with my brothers and sisters who embraced life our parent has given us. We were not rich but we were blessed by wonderful parents who did everything to give us things they did not get like education. I learned something try to live your life as it is your last. You have to show your love ones how much you love them and cherish the moments because that’s the only time we have.
It’s funny that I found one post in one of my first blog on blogspot it was a post about my sister who was at time beginning to show signs of sickness but today she maybe can understand for a moment but I do hope and pray that she will be cured and live a normal life. I love her so much that it hurts me whenever I remember her. She turns 40 this year and she’s the only single in our family.
Today is my sister birthday. I would like to start my blog with a wish for all the best and blessings in the many years ahead. It was like yesterday that we were climbing some trees fx. the guava tree in our backyard and camachile tree while eating their sweet fruits on. Now we are still climbing different kind of trees, the tree of life trying to reach out to the sweet fruit that are just waiting for us. Sometimes we get a sweet fruit but sometimes its rotten and most of the times we stepped on the small and brittle branches that we thought to be strong to carry us to our aim but nope when we stepped on its start to crack and we go back and try again until we reach what were after. Sometimes that’s how I see our life, its full of ups and downs and challenges. What is important is to never to stop trying reaching what we dreamed of.
Sis i love u and this poem is for u.
Reflections aren’t just from the past
They are things that are here to last
Memories are not just yesterday
They are wondrous parts of us that stay.
Looking back at those things that were so good
Like a happy thought that is as it should.
There are times and people near forgotten
But reflections color things so caught in
The web of our mind, like azure blue sky
Upon the water now caught by the eye.
And stately trees of emerald green
Echoing their past of things once seen.
While laughter comes from so deep within
Yesterday’s warmth can blanket one’s skin.
And as I reflect on times long ago
I pull out the good and the rest I throw
To the winds that are billowing hard;
To the storms that may now sweep the yard;
To places I need no longer
And I find peace as bright as the snow.
Poem by M.J.M. ©1999
Thanks a lot my dear readers.
Calling all Filipinos their families and friends in Odense and nearby areas in Fyn you are all invited to attend the first Su mmer Party of Babaylan Denmark/Odense.
There’s has been a lot of changes in the foreign law in Denmark. For the past 10 years foreigners are the always caught in the negotiations whenever the present government wanted to pass their programs the right-wing party Danish Peoples Party always try their best to pass strict rules for foreigners to come to Denmark either refugees or by family reunions. Last year when they introduce the point system where the foreign partner should get certain points according to his/her education, language skills, work experience etc.. it was perceived by the Danish citizens as the state dictates who their citizen wanted to marry and discriminates against people who are not highly educated, doesn’t speak English, Scandinavian language etc. in high level. They even processing fess when submitting applications for residence and working permits. The foreign partner also have to pass the Danish immigration test wherein they have to pay just to get the exam and they also have to pay when the foreign partner has to prepare for the exam by going to language school inside or outside Denmark. Finding a foreign partner makes it more difficult and expensive.
I will repost the requirements her and for Filipinos who are asking me if they can come to Denmark via family reunion please read this new rules.
New family reunification rules
On 1 June 2011, the Danish Parliament changed the rules for
family reunification for spouses/partners.
In the course of June 2011, detailed information about the rules for family reunification for spouses/partners will be published in the Danish Immigration website www.newtodenmark.dk, along with new application forms.
The new rules apply to all applications for family reunification with a spouse/partner submitted from 1 July 2011.
The changes are as follows:
If the spouse/partner residing in Denmark is a foreign national,he/she must meet some of the requirements which are to be met when applying for a permanent residence permit. These requirements must also be met if the spouse/partner residing in Denmark has been granted a permanent residence permit under the rules which applied before 26 March 2010. Consequently, when the Danish Immigration Service receives an application for family reunification with a spouse/partner, it will assess whether the spouse/partner residing in Denmark can be given points for the following criteria:
- having resided legally in Denmark for at least the past four years
- not having committed any serious crimes
- not having any overdue public debts
- not having received certain types of public assistance for the past three years
- having submitted a signed declaration about integration and active citizenship in Danish society
- having passed Prøve i Dansk 2 (Danish exam, level 2) or the equivalent
- having had ordinary full-time employment in Denmark for at least 2½ out of the past 3 years
- having had ordinary full-time employment in Denmark for at least 4 out of the past 4½ years, or
- having completed a higher educational programme, professional bachelor’s degree, business academy or vocational upper secondary, or
- having passed Prøve i Dansk 3 (Danish exam, level 3) or the equivalent
- A point system for the applicant will be introduced. If both spouses/partners are over 24, the applicant must normally obtain 60
points. If one or both spouses/partners are under 24, the applicant must normally obtain 120 points. These points will be granted based on a number of qualifications relevant to integration, such as work experience, language skills and completed education.
- The attachment requirement is tightened so that the spouses’/partners’ combined attachment to Denmark must be considerably greater than their combined attachment to any other country. The attachment requirement will be changed for both the spouse/partner residing in Denmark and the foreign spouse/partner. In future, the foreign spouse/partner must normally have visited Denmark twice, and must have completed a Danish language course on A1 level. The spouse/partner residing in Denmark must normally have resided in Denmark for at least 15 years, and must have made an effort to integrate into Danish society. As is the case today, the attachment requirement in not to be met if the spouse/partner residing in Denmark has held Danish citizenship for over 28 years, or if he/she was born and raised in Denmark or came to Denmark as a small child, and has resided legally in Denmark for over
- The collateral requirement will be raised to DKK 100,000 (2011 level)
- The language requirement in connection with the immigration test will be tightened, and the fee for taking the new test will be raised to DKK 3,600. (This change will not apply until the new immigration test has been developed – probably around 1 January 2012.)
- The fee for submitting an application for family reunification with a spouse/partner is raised from DKK 5,975 toDKK 7,775 .
From 1 July 2011, when the new rules apply, the general requirements for family reunification with a spouse/partner will be as follows:
Requirements relating to both spouses/partners:
- The marriage/registered partnership must be recognized by Danish law.
- In the case of couples who are not legally married or registered partners, the relationship must be of a permanent and lasting nature -normally, the couple must be able to document that they have lived together for at least 18 months at a shared address.
- The marriage/partnership must have been entered into according to the wishes of both spouses/partners.
- The marriage/partnership must not have been entered into solely for the purpose of obtaining a residence permit for the applicant.
Requirements relating to the foreign spouse/partner:
- The foreign spouse/partner must meet his/her part of the attachment requirement.
- The foreign spouse/partner must obtain 60 points if both spouses/partners are over 24, or 120 if one or both are under 24.
- The foreign spouse/partner must pass the immigration test.
Requirements relating to the spouse/partner residing in Denmark:
- The spouse/partner must not have been convicted of violent acts against a former spouse/partner in the past 10 years.
- The spouse/partner must agree to support the foreign spouse/partner
- The spouse/partner must either hold a Danish residence permit granted on the grounds of asylum or Protected Status (the Danish Aliens Act,section 7 and 8) or have held a permanent Danish residence permit for the past three years or more.
- If the spouse is a foreign citizen, he/she must meet a number of the requirements for obtaining a permanent residence permit.
- The spouse/partner must meet his/her part of the attachment requirement.
- The spouse/partner must be able to support him/herself – that is, he/she must not have received public assistance under the terms of the Active Social Policy Act or the Integration Act for the past three years.
- The spouse/partner must have accommodation of adequate size at his/her disposal.
- The spouse/partner must post DKK 100,00 (2011 level) in bank-backed collateral to cover any public assistance paid to the foreign spouse/partner under the terms of the Active Social Policy Act or the Integration Act. As is the case now, there will be a possibility in certain cases.
International Women’s Day and Migrant Women’s Rights
by Filomenita Mongaya Høgsholm
If it were not for immigrant women, we might not be celebrating the 8th of March as International Women’s Day (IWD) today, where we honour and recognize women’s contributions, and also protect their rights. Although IWD has been observed since the early 1900’s when the world then, cataclysmic owing to industrial expansion and booming population growth, witnessed impassioned women campaigning for change. It made headlines when15 000 women, probably immigrant women among them, marched in 1908 through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights.
At the 1910 International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen, Clara Zetkin, working for the Social Democratic Party in her native Germany, tabled the idea of an International Women’s Day before more than 100 women from 17 countries, among them members of political parties and working women’s clubs, including the first three women elected to the Finnish parliament. Zetkin’s suggestion was unanimously approved at the meeting.Thus was IWD celebrated for the first time in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland on 19 March 1911 with more than one million women and men attending.
But less than a week later on 25 March, the tragic ‘Triangle Fire’ in New York City occurred, taking the lives of 146 garment workers, mostly Italian and Eastern European -Jewish- women immigrants. The tragedy underscored the dangerous working conditions of immigrant women workers in New York’s sweatshops. It was a turning point for women workers and hence became instrumental in changing American labour laws.
From then on, the meaning of the tragic event would later be incorporated into the empowerment thrust commemmorated on March 8th, now known as International Women’s Day, IWD, with special stress on women workers. That was exactly a century ago on March 8 this year in 2011..
A whole century of struggle for rights has certainly brought significant changes to women workers lives but in many parts of the world, women’s work continues to be undervalued, underpaid, or unremunerated and every single day in the calendar, women and girls in the Global South, following their dreams of a better life, leave home to find jobs to secure their future by moving to the developed world of the North/West. They migrate to continents and cultures so far from their own.
Feminisation of Migration
According to I.O.M (International Office for Migration)’s bi-annual World Migration Report in 2010, 3% of the world’s population or 214 million people were on the move, and 49% of these international migrants were women or girls, the portion of females reaching 51% in more developed regions. Constituting 50% or more of the migrant workers in Asia, Africa and Latin America are now women heads of households among these, who see it as their duty to go abroad and earn so as to support their families’ well being, eg. the education of their children. Yet there is no indication that guarantees exist so more women can migrate in safety and protection. On the contrary, the area of protection has been marginalised, women migrants are still subjected to multiple discrimination, and the incidence of irregularity and of trafficking is rising..
But even without this criminal twist to female migration, women workers still pay the social costs of migration since they suffer psychologically and emotionally from the separation from their children which take a toll on their health and quality of life.
According to the same report, the trend of female migration will continue owing to the demographic factor of an ageing population in the developed world requiring the extra hands of female immigrants to provide care. Yet employers, governments and society in receiving countries fail to value women’s work which is considered of low status. Care, esp, when it is expended within the domestic sphere is invisible. And not valued.
Additionally, women workers are denied their right to fair wages and humane working conditions. When they come into contact with the law, they are deprived of their right to due process, the right to be protected against inhuman and degrading treatment, the right to be heard and air grievances, including the right to complain without the threat of verbal abuse or withholding of salary. These are everyday happenings for migrant women in certain parts of the world.. aside, from these, they often have noaccess to counselling, legal and social services. More so than other workers, domestic workers including the new arrivlas, the au pairs found in iincreasing numbers in norther Europe, are vulnerable to deprivation oe abuse of their rights, and maybe be exposed to physical violence, including sexual harassment and rape.
Trafficking and smuggling for labour and the sex industry mainly involving women and children is a more lucrative business than the drug trade. With the financial crisis still unresolved, unscrupulous elements in this nexus of migration and criminality will ply their trade more vigorously to bring in their ill-gotten incomes.
MDGs and Migrant Women:“Empowering Women to End Poverty by 2015”
In 2000, the Millennium Development Goals or MDGs were set by the world’s leaders who agreed on a global cooperation to fight poverty by formulating 8 specific goals. Not one of the 8 however was on international migration, inspite of the role of remittances and diaspora communities as agents of change in home countries. Indeed, it is a crosscutting phenomenon, rather like gender equality which is one of the MDGs, ie./Goal 3.
Inspite there being one specific goal on gender equality, without progress towards the empowerment of women, including migrant women, none of the other goals will be achieved. Women disproportionately experience the burden of poverty as victims of discrimination, and yet they put their lives at risk every time they become pregnant because more often than not, they have no access to basic health services nor reproductive rights orientation, showing an interplay of several unfulfilled MDGs.
Last year’s UN MDG Summit in New York in September 2010 concluded with the adoption of a global action plan to achieve the eight anti-poverty goals by their 2015 target date and the announcement of major new commitments for women’s and children’s health and other initiatives against poverty, hunger and disease.
The UN Migrant Workers Convention and International Migrants Day
20 years has passed since the UN attempted in 1990 to enshrine migrant workers rights in a Convention adequately entitled the UN Convention for Migrant Workers and Members of their Families, UNMWC for short. It first entered into force in 2003 but already in 1997, Filipino migrants began to celebrate the 18th of December to commemorate international migrants solidarity day. And finally on Dec.4th 2000, it was decided by the UN that there ought to be an International Migrants Day to remind member states, intergovernmental actors as well as NGOs of their obligations to ratify the Convention as well as to disseminate information on the human rights of migrants, recognizing their contributions to the well being of host societies.
The UNMWC is the only Human Rights instrument that specifically addressesthe rights of migrants but unfortunately it is also the least ratified…Not one European or North American state has come forward to lead the way. There is a long way to go, in fact, it has almost not started .As of last count there were only 44 nations who have ratified the Convention, and all of them from the Global South. There are further some 15 signatories to the Convention, again none from the so-called developed nations.
The ILO Domestic Workers Convention
The ILO has a number of Conventions thru the 1980s and ’90s, all of them having to do with questions relevant to migrant workers but none seem to cater directly to women migrants. In 2011, a new Convention will likely be passed and this will be about domestic workers rights. Considering that domestic workers are predominantly women, and the demographic deficit will require more and more care from the Global South, and with a fast ageing population in the developed nations, such a Convention will secure aspects to this grey and unprotected labour area but will not necessarily address ALL migrant women’s rights.
The new convention was passed at the ILO’s June 2-18 2010 meeting in Geneva, attended by more than 2,500 delegates from member countries, trade unions and employer’s confederations. This new DWC provides for freedom of association, fair terms of employment and decent working and living conditions, easy access to dispute settlement procedures, regulation of employment agencies and protection of migrant domestic workers. This part will require hard bargaining since it is about substantive provisions to include protection from abuse, wage regulation, fair and decent conditions of work and social security for domestic workers — migrant, live-in and other categories of this extremely vast, unregulated and unprotected workforce. The ILO also called for state parties to hold consultations with stakeholders and provide comments on the proposed convention to set fair labour standards in domestic work.
This year 2011, it is expected,that we will see both international and domestic law on this important subject in place. The fact that the work site for domestic work is often the home of the employer, not a public place, is considered problematic because the right to privacy of employers is put forward as contradictory to the rights of the domestic worker supposedly in regulated employment. Also, the aforementioned rapid rise in crossborder trafficking calls for special protection for migrant domestic workers, many of whom cross international borders without proper documentation. The Convention must also address the important issue of reintegration and/or return after end of contract, a time when the women workers are particularly at risk. It is also established that domestic workers are especially vulnerable to sexual harassment and sexual assault, and often find it impossible to access the criminal justice system. Protection must be offered to domestic workers against sexual harassment, especially more relevant to certain areas in the world than others.
ILO in the Middle East
The ILO is also encouraging the drafting of labour legislation to provide foreign domestic workers (FDWs) in the Middle East with legal protection.Arab trade unions agreed on a statement of principles, including the right to decent wages and union representation for FDWs, after a workshop in Beirut, Lebanon, earlier in November 2010. The phenomenon [FDW] has taken off in recent years as family networks are taking on workers to help with social care, such as caring for elderly parents, people with disabilities and children.Only Jordan has comprehensive labour legislation covering FDWs in a region that employs 22 million domestics, a third of whom are women, mainly from Asian and African countries, including Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Ethiopia.
Domestic labour is used worldwide but is especially widespread in the Middle East and where according to Human Rights Watch (April 2010), FDWs face a wide range of abuses and poor working conditions, such as needing permission to leave the house, a lack of leave days, having their passports taken away and, in some cases, physical and emotional abuse. The report also noted that access to justice was limited. Experts say the recruitment system – kafala – in which an employing family sponsors the domestic worker, is the first issue to tackle. Also advocacy for the rights of domestic workers is weak and language is a barrier.
The ILO is also working with governments on other initiatives, including awareness literature, hotlines for FDWs, communal housing that would offer domestic workers an alternative to living in the employer’s home, and government bodies rather than private agencies to manage recruitment.
Governments, trade unions, and other civil society organizations in both the countries of origin and destination need to be more engaged. Private employment agencies are making a profit out of workers who are coming to the region to take care of the social care needs of households here. These needs should be a part of social policies and programmes of the countries’ governments, rather than being left to private households.
Conventions aimed specifically at Women
We work with women before they depart to train them in their rights as workers, employment responsibilities and basic information about contracts. We work with women once they arrive in the country to ensure they have safe housing, legitimate contracts and workplace rights. We also work with women who are returning to their families after periods away and supporting them to re-enter their family life. (UNIFEM)
CEDAW, Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women
CEDAW is an international treaty that can also be invoked to address women migrants’ issues. With 178 ratifications by countries of origin, transit and destination, CEDAW is one of the most widely ratified of conventions, ranking second only to the Convention on the rights of the Child
This Convention was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 18 December 1979, and is one of the most comprehensive international human rights treaties for the promotion of women’s rights. It looks at women’s civil rights, their legal status, reproductive rights, but also cultural factors influencing women’s position in society and the enjoyment of their rights.
At some point, the UN Cedaw Committee, affirming that migrant women, like all women, should not be discriminated against in any sphere of their life, decided to issue a General Recommendation on some categories of women migrant workers in these words:
Recognizing that migrant women may be classified into various categories and that these categories remain fluid and overlapping, the scope of the general recommendation is limited to addressing the situations of migrant women who, as workers, are in low-paid jobs, may be at high risk of abuse and discrimination and who may never acquire eligibility for permanent stay or citizenship, unlike professional migrant workers in the country of employment. These categories of migrant women are: (a) women migrant workers who migrate independently; (b) women migrant workers who join their spouses or other members of their families who are also workers; and undocumented women migrant workers who may fall into any of the above categories.
The General Recommendation 27, also known as GR 27, issued at its 32nd Session in January 2005 aims to elaborate the circumstances that contribute to the specific vulnerability of many women migrant workers and their experiences of sex- and gender-based discrimination as a cause and consequence of the violations of their human rights.
The full text is available at http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cedaw/comments.htm..
CEDAW: the view from Europe
Together with a couple of other related organizations,UNIFEM organised a Roundtable on the CEDAW and Migrant Women during its 30th anniversary in Geneva in November 2009, two migrant women were invited from Europe (one from WIDE/KULU/Babaylan and another from the European Netowrk of Migrant Women) to share their experience from the ground regarding human rights challenges for women migrant workers in Europe and the forms of multiple discrimination they are facing.
Bilateral agreements between countries to protect migrant workers are generally lacking, and that many migrant women do not have papers or contracts, as a result of trafficking or their illegal status, and therefore have no place to go for protection, nor for services such as health care.
Migrant women in Europe also often lack access to social benefits (e.g. pensions), and might therefore face poverty at old age. A further complication is that many migrant women that do domestic work are not protected, for example regarding domestic violence, as the ‘home’ by law is not seen as an official workplace, but as a private area.
One of the difficulties to protect migrant workers arises from the fact that the women leave on their own initiative and do not go through official organizations or networks, nor do they seek advice with State institutions. This makes it very difficult for States to provide these migrant workers with support.
Other issues raised during the discussion ranged from good practice examples in training and education of migrant workers, which nowadays is primarily a task taken up by civil society and which many said should also become the responsibility of States, so is protection of families, domestic migration and national streamlining of migration policy among various ministries.
IWD is a global celebration to focus on the economic, political and social achievements of all women without regard for differences among them. Maybe with the newly established United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women — or UN Women — now fully functioning, the UN can help member states to “accelerate progress towards their goals on gender equality and the empowerment of women.” And put power and meaning into the celebration of International Women’s Day hopefully for generations to come.
London, March 2, 2011: March 8 sees the highest level of global women’s activity ever witnessed as groups celebrate the International Women’s Day centenary.
The first International Women’s Day events were run in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland in 1911 and attended by over one million people. 100 years on, International Women’s Day (IWD) has become a global mainstream phenomena celebrated across many countries and is an official holiday in approximately 25 countries including Afghanistan, Russia, Ukraine, Vietnam and Zambia.
8 March sees extensive global women’s activity. Performer and social activist, Annie Lennox, will lead a mass march across London’s Millennium Bridge for charity. In Washington D.C. over a thousand people will descend on Capitol Hill demanding a better world for millions of marginalized women and girls around the globe. A major international businesswomen’s conference will be hosted in Sydney, Australia. Schools and governments around the world are participating in the day. Trade Unions and charities are campaigning. Global corporations are hosting conferences and distributing extensive resource packs. The United Nations Secretary-General delivers a formal message. The United States even designates the whole month of March as Women’s History Month as officially proclaimed by President Obama on February 28, 2011.
International Women’s Day is a global celebration of the economic, political, and social achievements of women past, present, and future. However, activity has not always been on the increase. Australian entrepreneur and women’s campaigner Glenda Stone, who founded the www.internationalwomensday.com website, a global hub of events and information, said:
“A decade ago International Women’s Day was disappearing. Activity in Europe, where International Women’s Day actually began, was very low. Providing a global online platform helped sustain and accelerate momentum for this important day. Holding only a handful of events ten years ago, the United Kingdom has now become the global leader for International Women’s Day activity, followed sharply by Canada, United States and Australia. 2011 will see thousands of events globally for the first time.”
More recently, social networking websites like Twitter, Facebook and Youtube have also helped fuel International Women’s Day activity. Generally the day has moved away from its socialist Suffragette beginnings to become more mainstream in celebrating women’s achievements. Women’s rights campaigners, however, continue to remind that vigilance rather than complacency is essential in striving for women’s equality.