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Success stories are often used by organizations and companies, less as inspiration but rather as excuses not to change the system – arguing that if some refugee women succeeded in the present system, so should everyone else. These stories should be told by the people who live them, to avoid tokenism and make use of the stories to change the system and create new and inclusive structures. - Prof. Halleh Ghorashi.

We are women from diverse backgrounds, religions, occupations, sexualities, ages, and abilities, who have survived war, conflict, discrimination and persecution. We are not passive victims, nor helpless beneficiaries, we are strong, resilient and resourceful women who want to see a change in the way we are perceived and spoken for.

We are concerned about the erasure of the voices of refugee, migrant and stateless women in the policy decision-making process which affects our lives. Far too often we are left out of the room and when we are included, our concerns are considered as mere opinions or background noise. Our lived experience and knowledge are not taken seriously at the policy level. Refugee, stateless and migrant women continue to face multiple forms of discrimination, violation of our rights, precarity and marginalization due to our position at the intersection of gender, migration status, and sexuality.

These critical issues could and should be counteracted by allowing migrant women to participate in the policy-making and decision-making processes. We demand a bottom-up approach to policy-making in the EU which includes promoting the active participation of refugee, migrant and stateless especially women. This involves creating space for refugee, migrant and stateless women to advocate for their rights and in their own interests. Such a process should be inclusive, where refugee, migrant and stateless women are treated as equal partners. We also demand that migrant-led organizations be actively involved in policy-making and given the lead in the promotion of active political participation.


We demand gender mainstreaming, which is sensitive to migration issues, be made part of all EU policy debates going forward. This means including a migration lens in gender-equality policies as well as a gender-equality lens in integration and inclusion policies. We call for increased financial resources to be made available to refugee, migrant and stateless organizations that are working towards building solidarity and creating opportunities, through research, workshops and seminars. Alongside this, we demand that more resources are invested in the legal aid, training and dissemination of information on access to education and labor market inclusion.


We believe that equal opportunities for migrant, refugee and stateless women is a precondition for a gender-equal Europe and as such call for more equitable access to integration services, with resources made available for childcare during the training period. Lastly, we call for institutions, civil society organisations and policy-makers to start to practice deep listening. When we, as migrant, refugee and stateless women speak up we deserve for our expertise and lived experiences to be listened to with respect and compassion. For us, this is the first step of solidarity needed in order to tackle the issue of gender equality in Europe.

The New Women Connectors Manifesto sets out critical issues of concern for refugee, stateless and migrant women in Europe and demands for these to be addressed. It is the result of a series of online gatherings hosted by New Women Connectors (NWC) with refugee, stateless and migrant women across Europe in 2020, who find that insufficient attention is given to their rights and issues within the EU. The full Manifesto can be found in the Annex session of the 2020 Annuale Report - here.

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