Denmark: Immigrant mothers forced out of isolationImmigrant women gear up for emancipation
The key to integration of immigrants lies with the women, experts say. Encouraging Muslim women to rebel against repressive gender roles is the only way to have their families become an integral part of Danish society. Poul Christian Matthiesen, a professor of demographics and population consultant for the national statistics bureau, told daily newspaper Jyllands-Posten that many immigrant women were doomed to isolation because they did not dare to challenge their role as housewives. 'I don't believe that you can live in Danish society without accepting that there is equality between men and women here. You can't hold on to your former culture if it is one that promotes gender role patterns that are harmful to the family's economic prospects, forcing the family into a lower class,' Matthiesen said. Immigration consultants, however, said the rebellion was already well on way. In Denmark, less than half of all immigrants from non-Western countries are employed. For women of certain nationalities, such as Somali and Palestinian, the employment rate is less than ten percent.
Immigrant mothers forced out of isolation
Attending support meetings for new mothers should be obligatory for immigrant women, in order to force them out of their homes and into society, integration experts and the Social Democrats agree. The conference's proposal to create summer schools that keep immigrants connected to the education system caught the attention of Hvilshøj. Other proposals offered by the conference included creating family contracts; establishing meeting places at the country's schools, where cultural and social clubs could meet local business leaders; and creating an internet portal that would break down prejudices about immigrants and help more immigrants find a job. Danish-Pakistani journalist and author Rushy Rashid presented the idea that immigrant mothers should be obligated to join mother support groups, organised by local authorities but currently voluntary for women to attend.
From an older post:
“Women who go to hairdressers will go to hell”
Statistics Denmark reported last month that up to 13,000 immigrant women have little or no contact with Danish society. A large share of immigrant women in Denmark live in almost complete isolation from Danish society, and this might make it more difficult for the government to fulfil its promise to get 25,000 immigrants into jobs over the next five years. Some 100,000 immigrant women of working age live in Denmark, and 60 percent of these are currently unem-ployed. Among women who come from Lebanon, Somalia and Afghanistan, the rate of unemployment is as high as 85 to 90 percent. At the same time, calculations from Statistics Denmark have shown that up to 13,000 immigrant women have little or no contact with Danish society. Newly appointed Integration Minister Rikke Hvilshøj said that if these women were held back by their husbands, then that was totally unacceptable and a problem that would have to be addressed.