African and Arab Female migration: Social and Cultural Impact
Migration is one of the hot topics on the international agenda. It has its pros and cons. As a cross – border phenomenon with wide-ranging economic, cultural, political and security implications, it affects all countries: exporting, receiving as well as transit.
International efforts are focused on increasing the benefits of migration and reducing its negative impacts as much as possible. But these efforts have so far failed to achieve their desired objective. The main reasons are the current global financial and economic crisis and the resultant high rate of unemployment in rich countries, the rise of anti-migrant sentiment in receiving countries and the persistent fear of international terrorism . In fact, it is most unfortunate that migration has recently been associated in some minds with international terrorism and transnational organized crimes.
It is a well-known fact that the patterns of international migration have changed considerably over the years . Women migrants now make up nearly 50% of the total , and women migrate more frequently on their own and are , in numerous cases, the main bread-winner of their families. They have to leave their family members behind in most cases , or join their husbands abroad in the framework of family re-unification. They are exposed to sexual abuse , exploitation and human trafficking . Sometimes , they have no other choice but to join the boatloads of illegal migrants who are more likely to drown in high seas before reaching their destination.
In view of the growing importance of female migration , the Afro-Arab Institute plans to organize a seminar on African and Arab female migrants to discuss their problems and suggest possible solutions , with special emphasis on the difficulties they encounter and the effects of migration on their families , culture and identity.
Upon their arrival , women migrants are faced with cultural values different from their own , a suspicious and unfriendly environment and discrimination of all sorts. This makes their integration into the host societies extremely difficult. Women migrants from African and Arab societies normally come from a conservative environment with crippling constraints on women , both legal and social. In the receiving societies these migrant women are subject to discrimination in the field of employment ( as they are confined to specific jobs such as hospitality, domestic service , nursing ) and residence (as they cannot bring in their families ) .
In short, migrant Arab and African women face multiple problems which need to be tackled with a sense of realism and compassion by all concerned parties to make their migration successful. Migration should benefit all sides , including the migrant himself who is at the heart of the migration process.