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Around seven per cent of the total population living in the EU Member States are born outside of the EU, and half of them are women and girls. 

Women represent almost half of the 244 million migrants and half of the 19.6 million refugees worldwide. They are migrating to escape poverty, improve their livelihood and opportunities, or escaping conflict and devastation in their own countries. 

Women refugees and asylum seekers are considered as categories in most vulnerable situations, requiring a prompt and effective protection response as they are at a higher risk of gender-based violence, including trafficking for sexual exploitation and forced marriage. 

Refugee and migrant women and girls face specific challenges and protection risks in transit, including family separation, psychosocial stress and trauma, health complications, particularly for pregnant women, physical harm and injury, and risks of exploitation and gender-based violence. 

Whether they are forced to move, migrate on voluntary basis or their reasons for migration are a combination of the two, women and men, girl and boy migrants are a highly heterogeneous group and a careful analysis of gender as a basis and source of discrimination cannot neglect or overlook diversity of experiences.

While some studies show that highly skilled women tend to migrate more than men, women born outside the EU experience high inactivity rates and worse employment outcomes than men migrants. 

Women migrants are disproportionately represented in lower paid occupations and work in the informal economy, such as domestic work and care work, where human rights abuses are commonplace. 

Therefore, a lot of women migrants seek out opportunities to become self-employed and a lot of them become successful entrepreneurs with big business and organizations. Although, it’s not easy and not all of them are able to get these kinds of opportunities. 

This issue is also why an Erasmus+ was developed. Chameleon is a KA2 project which aims to support migrant women to establish their own social enterprises to overcome the barriers to their economic integration by taking full advantage of the range of online and digital tools available to support business start-ups in Europe today. You can check their website on https://chameleon-project.eu/about-us/

Carolina São Marcos
STORYTELLME Junior Technician

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