At first glance, gender and migration are viewed as two separate topics with no connection between them. However, one does not need to look far to see that these two topics are interlinked. The gender concept is still associated with many prejudices and stereotypes. For example, many perceive it as a phenomenon that is exclusively focused on women and “women's issues”.That is not the case, as gender applies to both men and women and is equally an issue that affects both genders.
This is particularly important for understanding the essence of gender mainstreaming which aims to take into consideration the needs, priorities, expectations, experiences, knowledge, and skills of men and women when undertaking any activities from the planning phase to evaluation and monitoring so that both men and women benefit equally. That is why it is crucial not only to be aware of this approach but also to apply it in every context.
The concept of migration is highly gendered. Women and men move for different reasons and they face different challenges and opportunities and have different and intersecting vulnerabilities. In analysing the causes and consequences of migration, whether voluntary or forced, the gender perspective plays a key role.
It is important to keep in mind that gender also affects the reasons for migrating, namely “who migrates and to where, how people migrate and the networks they use, opportunities and resources available at destinations”. To a large extent, risks, vulnerabilities, and needs are shaped by one’s gender and often vary drastically for different groups. The roles, expectations, relationships, and power dynamics associated with being a man, woman, boy or girl significantly affect all aspects of the migration process. Other factors, including age and disabilities, also affect vulnerability and needs.
Therefore, it is important to analyse migration from a gender perspective in order to assess the experiences of women and girls compared to those of men and boys in displacement, reception, asylum procedures and integration, to ensure that responses are in line with needs and meet human rights standards, identify protection gaps and determine what can be done to remedy them.
MARRI RC is aware of the importance of the application of gender mainstreaming in practice and of its positive impact and outputs in the execution of the mandates of all relevant institutions responsible for migration. In line with “Podgorica Declaration” and the “MARRI Committee’s Recommendations”, MARRI RC - has initiated the organization of the first gender awareness-raising event titled: “Regional Conference on Gender Mainstreaming in Migration”, in cooperation with the Gender Equality Agency of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The event is supported by the Austrian NGO Hilfswerk International - one of the implementers of a project financed by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) and the Austrian Federal Ministry of Interior (BMI) - together with the project partner Association for Help and Development HAJDE.
Structure and Objectives of the Conference
The Conference will be organized as a two-and half-day event, with three thematic panel sessions. A moderator will guide the discussions in each session and they will contact the panellists and give them clear guidelines for preparing their interventions.
The main goals of the Conference are:
- For the first time, to bring together representatives of gender authorities, policymakers and practitioners of MARRI Participants’ administrations responsible for migration, civil society and representatives of international organizations.
- To raise awareness and knowledge on the gender perspective of migration;
- To exchange experiences and good practices related to gender mainstreaming in migration;
- To encourage regular coordination and cooperation of all key actors relevant to the gender-responsive and transformative processes of efficient and effective migration management.
Taking into account that effective institutionalization of the gender concept consists of three main steps, the Conference is structured in three main components.
- The first step is to raise awareness and knowledge of the gender perspective in migration of all key actors.
- The second step is to mainstream gender in legal, strategic, and operational documents that are relevant in the area of migration.
- Last, but not least, the most important step is the implementation process with the inclusion of all stakeholders relevant for gender and migration-related topics.
Following those three steps, the specific goals for each panel session are formulated.
The goals of the first session are as follows:
- To introduce the competencies and overall work of gender authorities in the context of the promotion of gender mainstreaming and gender equality, as well as their cooperation with MARRI Participants' administrations responsible for migration management.
- To exchange experiences of gender authorities of EU Member States with a focus on cooperation with migration-related institutions.
- To encourage regular coordination and cooperation of all key actors relevant to gender-responsive migration management.
The second session is dedicated to gender visibility in the legal and strategic frameworks of institutions responsible for migration. The main objectives of this session are:
- To exchange experiences and good practices related to the integration of the principles of gender equality, non-discrimination, as well as a gender perspective into the legal and strategic frameworks of MARRI Participants’ administrations responsible for migration.
- To share the gender-responsive approach to migration of international organizations both internally and externally, i.e., what kind of gender-responsive assistance they provide to governmental stakeholders.
The third session is about the implementation of the gender mainstreaming concept in practice.
The goals of the third session are:
- To detect the current state of play in MARRI participants administrations with respect to displacement, reception, asylum procedures and integration from the gender perspective.
- To present existing gender-responsive Standard Operational Procedures (SOP) or other operational regulations, measures, actions etc.
- To facilitate exchange of real practical examples with lessons learned.
The final part of the Conference will include a presentation of the conclusions with the announcement of the next event on Gender and Migration for MARRI Participants’ Administrations as a follow-up event of this Conference.