National conference EMN NCP Croatia "Women in Migration"

EMN NCP Croatia and the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Croatia held a national conference "Women in Migration" in Zagreb and online, on June 23, 2022

In most European countries, the female share of migrants remains consistently high. What do we know about these women on the move? Women migrate to Europe for a variety of reasons and over half of all migrants in the OECD and EU countries are women. The role of migrant woman is paramount when talking about integration– not only of their own but also of their family members’ integration. Recent events in Ukraine have prompted even more debate on the integration of migrant women. More than six million Ukrainians have left their country since the start of the war on 24 February, the majority of these refugees are women and children.

The aim of the conference was to further raise awareness about women in migration and their role in integration into the new society, the challenges they face, to present the EU framework and national policies and strategies of Member States in the field of integration of migrant women, to exchange ideas and good practices through the testimonies of migrant women themselves, an active role they should play in policy-making and decision-making processes, in order to enable their more successful and equal inclusion in society.

Welcoming speech was given by the coordinator of EMN Croatia, Mrs. Ivana Perlić Glamočak, who introduced the participants to the organization and work of the European Migration Network and the work of EMN Croatia, which was taken over by the Ministry of the Interior on January 1, 2019.

The introductory speech was held by the State Secretary of the Ministry of the Interior, Mr. Žarko Katić, who emphasized the importance of the discussion on the topic of migration, especially on the topic of women in migration. The initiative to hold a conference entirely dedicated to women in migration was prompted for several reasons. In most European countries, the share of women among migrants is high, while in others it is slightly lower. Women migrate to Europe for a variety of reasons, but what do we really know about these women on the move. Mr. Katic said: “Migration is an extremely complex phenomenon on a global level conditioned by socio-economic factors, security conditions, but also the personal experiences of migrants who embark on a dangerous journey into the unknown with the help of extensive smuggling networks, in search of better living conditions and opportunities.” He also added: “Although migrant women are a large and diverse group, their potential is often underutilized and neglected in migratory flows, while the challenges they face are underestimated and insufficiently recognized.” He pointed out that the process of working with migrant women and their active involvement in the process of inclusion in society must begin as early as possible in their arrival in the Republic of Croatia, where it is crucial to ensure language learning for more successful inclusion in economic, cultural and social life. Special emphasis was placed on information campaigns that strengthen the position of migrant women in society, the private and public sectors. Inclusion in the labor market is also a crucial part of the comprehensive process of empowering migrant women and their successful integration. Finally, Mr. Katić, State Secretary, sent a message to all participants with the hope of continuing activities and joint efforts to empower women in migration and their more successful inclusion in Croatian society.

As part of the conference, numerous presentations were held through three panels, from women involved in the creation of migration policies to migrant women themselves, who gave an overview of the topic of women's empowerment in migration and their more successful inclusion in society. Thus, Mrs. Bahrija Sejfić (Office for Human Rights and the Rights of National Minorities of the Government of the Republic of Croatia), Mrs. Simona Ardovino (European Commission), Mrs. Karolina Marcjanik (European Union Agency for Asylum), Mrs. Anna Rich (UNHCR in Croatia) and Mrs. Suzana Borko (Croatian Caritas) participated in the panel "Women on the Move - Migrant Women in the EU".

Although the national governments of the Member States are responsible for creating and implementing integration policies, the European Union has a key role to play in supporting its Member States. In the panel “Focus on the integration of migrant women; EU Framework and National Policies and Strategies of the Member States ", Mr. Magnus Ovilius (European Commission) spoke on the implementation of the European Commission's Action Plan for Integration for the period from 2021 to 2027 and  gave an overview of the EMN study "Integration of migrant women in the EU: policies and measures", which will be published in 2022. Examples of national policies and strategies in the field of integration aimed at migrant women were given by Mrs. Marianne Höhl (Austria) and Mrs. Christine Mühlbach (Germany) with the project "Strong in Workplace", and examples of exceptional project practice with participants were shared by Mrs. Ayten Pacariz and Mrs. Asha Osman, with the project “Nachbarinnen in Wien”, Mrs. Simony Papakosta (Cyprus) with the project “Limassol: one city; the whole world” and a representative of the City of Osijek, Mr. Romano Kristić, who introduced the participants to the activities of the City of Osijek in the field of integration. Mrs. Mathilde Mandonnet (France) also commented on the French national strategy in the field of women's integration.

Third panel “Who are women on the move? Experiences of Migrant Women in Croatia” provided an opportunity for migrant women in the Republic of Croatia to acquaint the public with the experiences, challenges they face, expectations they have and suggestions of needs and activities that would enable more successful and equal inclusion in Croatian society.

The closing speech was held by the State Secretary of the Ministry of Labor, Pension System, Family and Social Policy, Mr. Ivan Vidiš, in which, among other things, he emphasized the timely provision of all information to persons coming to the Republic of Croatia: "The most important thing is for a person who comes to Croatia to get the whole package of information. In Croatia, and in any other country, it is very difficult to know how to contact the appropriate institutions and how to find clear information, in a language that a foreigner understands.” He also stressed the importance of long-term integration, which is achieved by finding a job that meets the qualifications of a foreigner coming to the Republic of Croatia. Therefore, the Ministry of Labor, Pension System, Family and Social Policy is making great efforts to facilitate the procedure of nostrification of diplomas, and to provide quality Croatian language courses to all who come to Croatia.

The conference brought together a number of participants live and online, including representatives of ministries and other relevant state administration bodies, academia, representatives of international organizations and NGOs, experts and participants from other Member States and provided an opportunity to learn about specific challenges and to get acquainted with policies, concrete projects and activities in the field of integration that are targeted at migrant women.

The conference was covered by the media and was broadcasted in the central informational programme of the Croatian Radiotelevision (HRT), on June 23, 2022. You can view the article via the link.

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