9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN33 Women's and Gender Studies

2009-09-05 15:30:00 2009-09-05 17:00:00 Saturday, 5 September 15:30 - 17:00 Trans-national Migrations and Migrant's Families Building II, C4.01

Mobilising gender: Patterns of integration of migrant women in the Republic of Ireland

Migrant women have been misrepresented and disadvantaged both in theoretical debates and at the EU policy level. However, current migratory trends (the so-called feminisation of migration) have forcefully brought attention to the inherently gendered workings of migration. In the Irish case too, migrant women have become visible and active subjects of the transformation engendered by contemporary migration patterns. This paper looks at several migrant women´s organisations that have been set up in the Republic of Ireland over the last decade (through qualitative work with 13 out of the 29 migrant women organisations that we have identified). Our study found that migrant women organisations in Ireland have very loose identitarian boundaries, often being multi-national, multi-ethnic and multi-faith. These organisations are sustained by inclusive and expanding networks, interlinked at the nationa, Europeanl and global level with other women´s organisations. Without assuming that women possess "superior" networking and communication skills, the paper aims to highlight how migrant women maximise resources while linking with each other and adapting traditional gendered patterns of connectivity. Migrant women´s activism counteracts the vulnerability and marginality migrant women face in Ireland, impacts on changing the character of Irish society and shifts the centre of gender normativities. The paper also problematises the power relations in which women´s organisations and modes of resistance are embedded.