Migration and Gender

Around the world, more people are on the move than ever before. Many of them are seeking new opportunities and a better life for themselves and their families. Others are forced to move due to disaster or conflict. Gender is central to any discussion of the causes and consequences of regular and irregular migration and forced displacement.

It is now understood that a person’s sex, gender identity and sexual orientation shape every stage of the migration experience. Gender affects reasons for migrating, who will migrate, the social networks migrants use to move, integration experiences and labour opportunities at destination, and relations with the country of origin. The expectations, relationships and power dynamics associated with being a man, woman, boy or girl, and whether one identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or intersex (LGBTI), can significantly affect all aspects of this process. LGBTI individuals of any gender also experience migration differently, with their own unique set of advantages and disadvantages.

These facts demonstrate the necessity for IOM to understand, assess and respond to gender dynamics. Taking into account gender-specific migration trends can mean the difference between implementing a project that successfully addresses the needs and capacities of IOM beneficiaries equally, or one that fails to address these critical elements and perpetuates gender inequality. Proactively including gender equality in all of IOM’s work means: advocating for equal rights under the law in employment and mobility; combatting discriminatory migration practices; understanding how gender influences all aspects and types of migration; knowing and responding to how gender shapes access to social services, economic growth, capacities, risks and vulnerabilities; and understanding how migration influences gender roles and gender equality. Taking all of these steps is central to IOM’s mandate and intrinsic to developing safe, humane and orderly migration for all.  To learn more, click here.

Convinced that a life free of violence is a human right, IOM carries out the B.A.1 Project: Prevention of Violence Against Women in Central America.

The project aims to contribute to the reduction of violence against women, with particular attention to its worst expressions: Trafficking and femicide, through interventions on the factors that are conducive. To this end, prevention and care actions are developed at the local, national and regional levels.

This effort is part of the Central American Security Strategy (ESCA), promoted by the Central American Integration System (SICA), with funding of the Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and Finland. All components of this project are implemented in Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama; while at the Dominican Republic regional activities are developed.

Among the main achievements of the project, there is the strengthening of inter-institutional coordination between National Commissions and organizations related to the issues of violence against women, trafficking and femicide. It has also achieved greater positioning of the subject in policies, action plans or mechanisms, through the signing of agreements and the creation of dialogues aimed at harmonizing routes and protocols for the care of the victims. It also has strengthened national observatories and bodies responsible for registering information and monitoring; as well as the capacities at the national and local levels for the prevention and care of violence against women, trafficking and femicide.

Locally, in selected territories, IOM has made progress in the creation and strengthening of comprehensive interagency plans for the prevention of violence against women; the development of awareness campaigns with specific target populations and implementing communication strategies and awareness for the prevention of violence, trafficking and feminicide.

Executing entities at the regional level are the General Secretariat of SICA (SG-SICA), the Technical Secretariat of the Council of Ministers for Women of Central America and the Dominican Republic (STM-COMMCA), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and IOM, being the last two also the financial managers of the project. To develop the project  National Commissions were created in all the countries with representation of  the national authorities and the entities that coordinate policies on violence prevention, UNFPA and IOM.

The National Commission of El Salvador is formed by ISDEMU, the Ministry of Justice and Public Security, and Foreign Ministry. In El Salvador, the municipalities where the project is executed are San Salvador, Mejicanos, San Miguel, La Union, Acajutla, Santa Tecla, Santa Ana, Ciudad Delgado, Soyapango and San Martin. In Honduras, the municipalities are La Ceiba, Tela, Copán Ruinas, Santa Rosa de Copán, Choloma, San Pedro Sula, Omoa, Tegucigalpa, Ocotepeque y Trojes.