Why Refugee Women Launch:
Many thanks to all who supported the Why Refugee Women launch held in Leeds. Over 75 participants from around 40 organisations participated in the launch. Thank you to Deborah Singer as the keynote speaker from Asylum Aid as well as all the other representatives from various organisations who gave powerful and informative speeches about the continued need to work in partnership to better support refugee women. Following the speeches we worked in groups to discuss how to take the charter forward in the work of individuals, communities and organisations. Ideas included:
‘Always offer the choice of a female interpreter’ (Midwifery services)
‘Find ways to support pregnant women, particularly refugee asylum seekers in the early stages of pregnancy. This is particularly important in view of infant mortality figures which are high for this group’ (local councillor)
‘I will promote the charter and the way forward with the multi agency meetings and organisations in Kirklees’ (National women’s organisation)
‘When arranging appointments where women have children avoid school times or arrange suitable times if they have young children’ (Anonymous)
‘Speak to the Partners of my law firm regarding the Charter and moving forward to implementing as much of the Charter as possible’ (Lawyer).
Feedback from the event was positive with 14 out of 16 who completed the feedback forms finding the content covered at the launch ‘very useful. Comments included ‘great range of organisations and individuals coming together’, ‘very moving, informative and useful event’, ‘good to hear personal accounts’ and ‘thank you – long may it continue’.
More than 60 organisations have signed up to the charter including Kirklees Council. Organisations who sign up to the charter are committing to treat all refugee women with dignity and respect, to understand gender based issues and offer women the option of a female worker/interpreter wherever possible. The charter also states that refugee women need to be offered support with childcare during asylum interviews and to ensure that women are aware of their rights and independence away from their partners. We look forward to working with you all to take the Why Refugee Women work forward. Please read the news and updates section for more information on what we hope to do next…..