Taking a leap of faith

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Words by Diana Milena Lopez Duque

 

Who says that migrating to another country is an easy job? If anyone thinks it is, please give us the secret recipe. We, migrants, took a leap of faith moving to another country. From the very moment we are at the airport, saying goodbye to our family, with our heart in our hands and getting thousand blessings from our mothers (as we say in Spanish “encomendándonos con todos los santos”), the only feeling we have is fear. Overcoming fear sometimes it’s a difficult task. Especially when we have to handle a lot of situations, adjusting to a new culture, dealing with depression and lack of confidence. As if it wasn’t enough, you have to speak a different language. And you’re a woman.

 

Being a migrant woman is not the same as being a migrant man. It is important to understand the gender perspective. Because yes, gender matters. While women and men decide to migrate for similar reasons, migrant women carry out tasks of social reproduction and not of social production. Socially the housework is expected to be done by women, and they face multiple and intersectional forms of discrimination.[1] We want equal opportunities.

According to the Australia Bureau of Statistics, “for the year ending 30 June 2020, there were over 7.6 million migrants living in Australia”[2]. In December 2020 Australia’s population was over more than 25,6 million people. It means we as migrants made approximately 29 per cent of the population in the Terra Australis, of which 15.1 per cent are females.

 

Besides, countries, governments and national organizations should work using a comprehensive migration data management system. this will allow collecting detailed information about gender and age of arrivals tracking the migratory movement. It would be key in creating and implementing migration policies, taking into account gender disparities.

 

Talking about policies, it has been an incredible experience for me living in Australia and getting to know many brilliant migrants. Almost 90% of the people that I have met are professionals and even postgraduates with leadership experience. Even though they have been here looking for a professional job for years. So, what happens? Most of them say that applying for jobs is complicated when you have a student visa. You are discarded immediately because of your migration status. Wouldn’t it be good for Australia to reconsider this in its policies and absorb the professional workforce that is in the country, especially considering the current pandemic?

 

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development – OECD says that “migrants arrive with skills and abilities, and so supplement the stock of human capital of the host country. More specifically, evidence from the United States suggests that skilled immigrants contribute to boosting research and innovation, as well as technological progress”.[3]

 

From my point of view, it would be admirable if Australia would take a leap of faith in us. This way, we would all be able to contribute and develop even more to this country. Increasing our sense of belonging and making this our home. We are a skilled workforce. We are powerful women, resilient and full of potential. We, as women, embrace organizations such as Professional Migrant Women, our sisterhood.