Sunday, 18 August 2013

Bienvenue chez nous

Women immigrants have now exceeded men in the population of immigrants coming to France. In a data analysis report on the survey Trajectoires et Origines (Paths and Origins), Cris Beauchemin, Catherine Borrel and Corinne Régnard[1] found, contrary to what one might think, the rise in women immigrants is not just for family-based admissions. More women are immigrating of their own accord and autonomously, to work and complete their education.
More women arriving on France’s shores are single, better pioneers of sorts, often preempting the “traditional” role of their male partners. The rise in the number of educated women in their countries of origin, their access to higher education (along with their proven capacity to stay the course) is no doubt decisive. So much so, that joining their partners in high-income countries is no longer exclusively the lot of women – since 1988 men have made up a third of partners immigrating to join their wives and that figure has continued to grow even among the French-born population.
Though French figures have improved, they still lag behind those in the US. Immigrant women in the US show themselves not only to be at the “forefront of advocacy” according to the Center for American Progress[2], they also make up over half the total immigrant population, 55% to be exact, and more of them start businesses than their American-born counterparts. What is definitely true in both countries is that women immigrants tend to represent a stabilizing factor – they embrace citizenship better, are better integrated, better educated and make greater sacrifices for their families, by staying at home to take care of them, if need be.
There is, of course, a flipside. More immigrant families are vulnerable; immigrants are subject to abuse at work, but more worryingly, at home at the hands of abusive partners. Worse yet, among those numbers filling the glowing ranks of these hopefuls, it is difficult to estimate the numbers, as many of them enter the country undocumented from the outset, comprising victims of human trafficking.
 By Candice Lewis

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