This colloquium on the “Globalization, Gender and Mobility” was co-organized by the Euro-Mediterranean Academic and Scientific Network on Women and Gender (RUSEMEG) and the Center of Arab Women for Training and Research (CAWTAR). The colloquium held in Tunis (Tunisia) on May, the 11th, is framed in the Axix 1 “Strengthening the capacity of the actors working for equality” funded by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development and the project “Developing Women Empowerment“, labelled by the Union for the Mediterranean.
The colloquium gathered more than 120 participants from several countries (Algeria, Spain, France, Italy, Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia). The participants were mainly academics, researchers, representatives of local communities, national and international institutions and associations. The themes debated Gender and Migration were framed in the context of free circulation of privileged populations in terms of capital, goods and information. However, topics like borders closure, conditional circulation and forced mobility, that is to say the securitization of migration were also taken into consideration, contextualizing the current gap between the richest and the poorest part of the population in the Mediterranean.
The colloquium was introduced by Madam Samira MERAI, Secretary of women and family’s rights of Tunisia, by Madam Soukaina BOURAOUI, law professor of right and director of CAWTAR and by Madam Michèle RIOT-SARCEY, professor of history. It highlighted that human mobility and its stakes represent a big contemporary debate in politics, society and media. Despite the current challenges and the general instability that people in the South are facing, there is still hope. Indeed, people keep crossing the walls erected everywhere, seeking to reach the Southern border of Europe. The globalization and the migration flows in the Mediterranean made migrants visible targets, forcing them to undertake more and more complex and dangerous routes to reach Europe.
During the colloquium, the speakers highlighted the fact that migration flows – internal or regional, national or international - and the exploitation of women’s work stress the poverty of female migrants, who are the first victims of this new phenomenon. However, migration can also allow, in certain conditions, their emancipation. Indeed, women can reach a bigger economic independency, whilst continuing to assure their traditional role of mothers and wives.
During this colloquium, the participants approached the reasons of migration flows (climate, unemployment, violence and conflicts), the reasons of the border crossing (sexual and material exploitation) and those of arrival in the hosting country, where the migrants face the new reality. They also remarked the reception conditions and the reactions migrants arrival raises (legislation, violence, denial of the “other”), but also the integration process in the welcoming society.
Within the current context of demographic change characterized by the consistent decrease of the birth rate and the increase of population ageing, the role of women in the Mediterranean mobility is really important. Nowadays, despite female migrants are still invisible in the general context of migration, we are assisting to the feminization of migration, that is making women more and more active and visible actors of mobility in the Euro-Mediterranean.
In conclusion, the meeting between the gender and migration studies allowed very fruitful exchanges and a better understanding between the actors involved in gender equality in the Mediterranean. This dialogue has been important as the Mediterranean is not a homogeneous space, but full of contrasts and multiple borders. Hence this dialogue allowed the 120 participants involved to overtake these borders and walls to build a space of peace and shared prosperity.
Have a look to some of the pictures at this link: https://www.flickr.com/gp/142120270@N07/K459yi
This platform is part of the Axis 1 "Strengthening the capacities of equality actors" of the Priority Solidarity Fund "Women for the future in the Mediterranean" funded by the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs and led by the European Institute of the Mediterranean, in the framework of the project “Developing Women's Empowerment” labelled by the Union for the Mediterranean.