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Using South-North collaborations to explore the role of gender within immigrant integration projects

Conference contribution
Authors Shelley Kotze
Mirek Dymitrow
Lillian Omondi
Ana Blazheva
Published in 2019 RINGS Conference: “Genders and Feminisms in a Polarised World – Sustainability, Futures and Utopias”, The International Research Association of Institutions of Advanced Gender Studies / Tallinn University – Gender Studies Research Group, 2–4 October 2019, Tallinn, Estonia
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Economy and Society, Unit for Human Geography
Mistra Urban Futures
Language en
Keywords double-jeopardy, immigration, gender, South-North collaboration, integration, polarisation
Subject categories Globalization Studies, Human Geography, Public Administration Studies, Gender Studies, Peace and development research


One of Sweden’s current predicaments is that it is a highly multicultural society in a European context, facing a crisis through the vulnerability and anxieties relating to the increasing immigrant populations being closely related to an increasing polarisation. In a polarised society, gender is at risk of again becoming the invisible “third” face of policies trying to facilitate migration, overwhelmed by the complexity and jeopardies of integration and disintegration, homogeneity and diversity, equality and inequality, inclusion and exclusion. Sweden has developed a lauded policy, most particularly within the formal opportunities offered to immigrants when accessing the labour-market (MIPEX). However, the index does not measure the outcomes of such policy. The OECD data (2013) is placing Sweden at the bottom of its ranking, as it has the largest gap, in levels of employment between native-born Swedes and those born outside of Sweden. Possible reasoning for the gap is the relatively high proportion of native-born women in employment. When immigrant employment numbers are explored along gendered lines immigrant women’s levels of employment are consistently 10% lower than those of immigrant men. This not only creates a gender gap between immigrant men and women, but also a gap between native-born and immigrant women. As such, immigrant women are experiencing a double-jeopardy in labour-market integration, both as women and as immigrants. Therefore, we ask if intersectional actors are taken into account in designing policies; how they reflect the differences of immigrant women trying to integrate; and how can immigrant women change Swedish society and its labour force? This presentation explores how the hypothesis of double-jeopardy plays out in practice. The aim of our research is to understand the ways in which different approaches to labour-market integration apply the concept of gender, and how this affects the tangible and sustainable outcomes for the women involved. This will be undertaken through a South–North collaboration, using a Swedish-Kenyan collaboration programme within Mistra Urban Futures – SKILLs, aiming towards sustainable urban development. Drawing upon experiences and reflections from works of academics, researchers and NGOs, our research applies a gender analysis of local case studies from impoverished areas of Gothenburg. The discussion is informed by challenges (and solutions) identified in Kisumu, and provides a set of co-produced recommendations. Initial findings suggest that gender as a concept is experienced differently by immigrant women and Swedish women. In questioning how women from the Global South experience integration projects in the context of the Global North we attempt to initiate discussion how labour-market integration can produce more tangible, sustainable and equitable outcomes for immigrant women.

Page Manager: Webmaster|Last update: 9/11/2012

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