Iryna Semeniuk, Associate Professor
of Management and Administration Department
Vinnytsia Institute of Trade and Economics of KNUTE
Natalia Makhnachova, Associate Professor
of Management and Administration Department
Vinnytsia Institute of Trade and Economics of KNUTE
СОЦІАЛЬНО-ЕКОНОМІЧНА ІНТЕГРАЦІЯ ЖІНОК-ІММІГРАНТОК: ВИКЛИКИ ДЛЯ ЄС ТА УКРАЇНИ
SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC INTEGRATION OF IMMIGRANT WOMEN: CHALLENGES FOR THE EU AND UKRAINE
Анотація. Стаття присвячена визначенню ключових проблем соціально-економічної інтеграції жінок-іммігранток в ЄС та Україні. В середньому, 48% жінок, які прибувають до європейських країн, залишаються безробітними протягом 3 років після імміграції. Окрім того, рівень так званих низькоосвічених жінок-іммігранток серед безробітних перевищує 90%. В Україні частка іммігрантів становить менше 1% загальної чисельності населення, однак досить гострою залишається проблема створення сприятливих умов для соціальної та економічної адаптації внутрішньо переміщених осіб.
WeCan – це проект, що підтримується програмою ЄС Еразмус +, метою якого є сприяння соціально-економічній інтеграції жінок-іммігранток за допомогою підприємництва. Тривалість проекту 3 роки. Провідною організацією та координатором проекту є Folkuniversitetet (Швеція). Також в проекті беруть участь 5 партнерських організацій з Нідерландів, Великобританії, Кіпру, Греції та України.
Протягом реалізації першого етапу проекту (IO1), партнерами було проведено дослідження та організовано воркшопи за участі стейкхолдерів. Це дозволило визначити основні бар’єри соціально-економічної інтеграції жінок-іммігранток та внутрішньо переміщених осіб, а також розробити концепцію формування їх підприємницьких компетентностей.
Ключові слова: соціально-економічна інтеграція, підприємництво, жінки-іммігрантки.
Abstract. The article deals with the identification of the key problems of social and economic integration of immigrant women in the EU and Ukraine. 48% of women who arrived in European countries are unemployed 3 years after arrival. The rate for so-called low educated among unemployed women is above 90%. In Ukraine, the share of immigrants is less than 1 percent of the total population, but there is a problem of creating favorable conditions for the social and economic adaptation of internally displaced persons.
WeCan is an Erasmus+ project that aims to facilitate the integration of immigrant women both socially and in the labor market through entrepreneurship. The project will last 3 years. The leading organization and project coordinator is Folkuniversitetet. There are also 5 partner organizations from the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Cyprus, Greece and Ukraine.
During the implementation of the first stage of the project (IO1), the partners conducted research and organized workshops with stakeholders. This allowed to identify the main barriers to the social and economic integration of immigrant women and internally displaced persons, as well as to develop a concept for the formation of their entrepreneurial attitude.
Key words: social and economic integration, entrepreneurship, immigrant women.
Introduction. Social and economic integration of immigrant women is a rather serious problem in European countries today. In Greece the amount of immigrant refugees was about 60.000 in 2019. In Netherlands the amounts of newly arrived people has been dropping systematically since 2017 and about 22.000 applied for asylum in 2019. In Sweden the amount of newly arrived asylum seekers is dropping also in the last couple of years to app 21.000. UK figures showed an amount of 29.380 asylum seekers in 2018 . The situation in Ukraine is slightly different.
According to the publication of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), entitled “Migration in Ukraine: facts and figures” about 285.000 foreigners, or less than 0.7 percent of the population, resided permanently in Ukraine in 2019. They are mostly students of Ukrainian universities (India – 19.7%, Morocco – 9.9%, Azerbaijan – 8.2% and Tajikistan – 5.3%) and temporary workers. In 2018, the State Employment Service, which issues employment permits to foreigners, registered 16.000 foreign employees. Labour migrants are mostly executives and managers, employed in trade and repair, industry, information and telecommunication sector. In 2018, the largest number of them came from Turkey (around 3.000), Russia (1.600), China and Belarus (around 1.000 each). Another group of foreigners in Ukraine includes refugees and persons who were granted subsidiary protection. In December 2019, there were 2.096 foreigners with this status in the country. Most of them are from Afghanistan (985 persons) and Syria (446 persons) as well as from some of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries, namely from Armenia (188 persons) and the Russian Federation (135 persons). In 2019, 1.443 applications for international protection were filed, 93 decisions granting a refugee status or subsidiary protection were issued .
The annexation of Crimea and the conflict in eastern Ukraine led to numerous induced displacements, especially during the first three years of the conflict. Displacement from non-government-controlled territories has slightly stabilized since 2017, and the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) has remained around 1.5 million persons with some fluctuations. In October 2019, 1.4 million IDPs were registered by social protection bodies.
According to the Unified information database of IDPs, the ration of women is about 62%. The results of a study, conducted among IDPs women at the age of 18 to 59 years by the Ukrainian Institute of Social Studies, indicate that the majority of IDPs women are under the age of 40 years. Most of them worked before leaving their place of permanent residence (61%) and only 5% were unemployed. Almost one third of the interviewed women belonged to the economically inactive IDPs, 12.7% of which were on parental leave, 6.9% were retired and some of them worked, 6.1% studied, etc .
Immigrant women and women who came from the territory of the military conflict (IDPs) quite often are not adapted to the conditions of the labor market and cannot find work for a long time. The solution to this problem should be the development of entrepreneurial competencies and soft skills of such women, which is the basis of the WeCan project goals.
Analysis of the recent researches and publications. Studies of the social and economic aspects of women's immigration has a significant place in the publications of foreign scientists. Such as D. Meurs , A. Nyberg , L. Caron , C. Stéphane, M.A. Valfort , M. Colucci, S. Gallo . In Ukraine, research on this problem is mainly carried out in the process of implementing of international projects .
Main purpose of the article is to identify the main problems of social and economic integration of immigrant women and justify the role and importance of the WeCan project in their solution.
Results and discussions. The 2019 Erasmus+ project “Encouraging integration for newly arrived immigrant women through entrepreneurship” (WeCan) is a three years project aiming: to facilitate the integration of immigrant refugee women both socially and in the labor market; to create learning opportunities in adult education tailored for the needs of low-skilled immigrant women in the field of entrepreneurship; to encourage refugee/immigrant women to start their own business.
The project will do this with the following objectives:
- creating networks between women and business/start-up agencies;
- providing informal training for women in the field of entrepreneurship and the development of a strategy of support for women business ideas elaboration;
- providing validation of skills acquired through informal training;
- supporting the development of key competencies and progress towards higher qualifications for the women.
The partner organisations of the project are from Cyprus (MMC), Greece (Dimitra), Ukraine (VITE KNUTE), United Kingdom (Rinova), Netherlands (Revalento and Sweden (Folkuniversitetet, Uppsala). The project is coordinated by Folkuniversitetet.
The expected results of the project are: 120 women trained in entrepreneurship, who have increased their skills and ready to create own enterprise; created opportunities of adult education for low-skilled refugee/immigrant women (curriculum, support strategy); elaborated business plans by women and start of their own business; effective integration into the hosting society.
The main and concrete results produced by the project are 3 Intellectual Outputs:
- IO1 – creating networks between women and business agencies, entrepreneurship companies in each partner country. This stage identified the perspective on future development of entrepreneurship courses for women. It also helped to understand the current situation regarding the possibilities of studying entrepreneurship for female immigrants;
- IO2 – the main activities are the development of a curriculum for training and pilot training for immigrant women in the field of entrepreneurship. Such training will help women to understand more about entrepreneurship, support them in the development of their own business ideas, and encourage their integration by creating a network of active immigrant women interested in entrepreneurship and stakeholders;
- IO3 will produce guidance in women entrepreneurship, which will encourage women to elaborate on their business ideas, help them to realize their ideas in real sustainable enterprise. This intellectual output will create the best support strategies for women with entrepreneurial ideas. The IO will contribute to the general objective of the project by assisting immigrant/refugee women in the realization of their entrepreneurial potential.
The results of the project and its activities are expected to have a significant impact in local, national and European levels by providing new adult learning opportunity for low skilled women, help to widen the learning programs suggested by adult education institutions, will stimulate creation of new businesses in the society (which will improve economy and create more working places), support integration of the women, creation of their own income.
According to the IO1 activities, research and workshops (with target groups) have been carried out by the partners of the project during the period from September 2019 till July 2020. It helped to get the common report on the results of networking and see available opportunities for immigrant women.
The results of the studies carried out in the project partner countries led to the following conclusions:
- In the Netherlands 60% of the asylum seekers are adult men. A total of 20% are adult women. The remaining percentages are underaged (again majority men). In Greece and in Sweden about 40% of the newly arrived are women and about 1/3 of all are underaged. The UK shows related figures. In the Ukraine the majority of IDP are women – 62%.
- In the Netherlands 95% of the women who arrive as asylum seeker come to the host country for purpose of family reunion. In Sweden the most common reason for women newly arrived is also family reunion.
- In the Netherlands the majority of the newly arrived asylum seeker women have a Syrian or Eritrean background. In Sweden the majority of newly arrived has Afghan, Syrian or Indian background. In UK it is mainly from Syria and the surrounding region.
- In the Netherlands over 50% of the newly arrived women are the age range 18-45, and almost 40% consist of children (meaning a total of 90% is in the age range up to 45). In Sweden and UK this picture is approximately the same. For the Ukraine the majority of IDP women are under the age of 40.
- Compared to men the newly arrived women in the Netherlands generally have a lower educational level less or no work experience and often fulfil a traditional role in the family. In the Netherlands the general population has 18 years of education on average, for Syrian women it is 12.3 years and for Eritrean women this is only 4.1 years. Level as well as cultural background are a severe handicap for smooth integration. For Sweden no details are specified. In UK educational levels nor work experience is officially registered. For the Ukraine most of the IDP (61% have prior work experience). The remain part consists of inactive women (parental leave, study, retirement) .
It is also important to note that the main barriers preventing integration of newly arrived women were also identified (table 1).
Main barriers preventing social and economic integration of immigrant women
Labour market / stakeholders
Economic situation in host country, lack of jobs
Mismatch of offer and demand
Lack of access to social and legal protection as well as integration programs de to working in the informal economy
Stakeholder organisations hardly have time to assess family situations
Stakeholder organisations hardly have interest in a woman’s position if the family (husband) is out of social welfare system
Stakeholder lack time for individual approach / gender sensitive approach
Rules and obligations
Being available for 5 days a week for work or study
Society demands to take care of yourself
Society demands to take initiative, be self-managing
Skills and competences
Children who do not attend to school / parents who do not support going to school
Diploma and experience is not officially recognised
Diploma is recognised at lower level
Basic skills and competences (reading writing, speaking, habits, norms and values) do not even come to level required at the lowest entry level of the labour market
Lack of digital experience
Hardly any work experience
Hardly any experience in entrepreneurship
Majority of women lack skills and competences required for starting a business of their own
Lack in self-belief
Lack of knowledge of labour market, consumer and service market
Personal situation and belief system
Lack of space / very poor housing situation
Host land is perceived as a temporary place to stay / dream of return to homeland
Stress, trauma and anxiety prevent participation in programs
Expectation and roles follow traditional lines and prevent women to develop themselves (gender barriers)
Taking care of children and family first concern
Passive attitude: “now the host land will take care of me”
Durig the spring 2020, VITE KNUTE as partner of project organized and conducted 4 workshops. Stakeholder and professionals who took part in workshops have many years of experience working with groups of people who need special support, like IDPs. All of them noted that there is a real problem of a large number of immigrant women and (IDPs) who cannot realize themselves professionally. And only training such women in developing a more entrepreneurial attitude and soft skills will help to solve this problem comprehensively. The vision and proposals of stakeholders are as follows: many women from the research and focus groups who started successful enterprise had no education in business sphere, but strong attitude and well developed soft skills. That is why, there is a need to develop soft skills in women who are the target group of the project; the key point of trainings for immigrant women (IDPs) is development of entrepreneurial attitude; trainings for immigrant women and IDPs need practical approach and concrete guidance of what is needed to open enterprise.
As a result of IO1, the project partners jointly developed a concept for the formation of an entrepreneurial attitude of immigrant women (figure 1).
Fig.1. The concept of entrepreneurial attitude developed for immigrant women
The results of IO1 showed that focus on practical ‘learning by doing training’ can be of much higher benefit for participants comparing to traditional classroom learning. Especially this is relevant when speaking about development of soft skills, entrepreneurial attitude, networking and integration issues.
A number of experts in integration as well as the stakeholder organisations involved in all WeCan workshops stated their opinion: the possibility to start own business or start-up is only possible when migrant women have a good understanding of society, customers, as well as language. Experience in work and/or entrepreneurship is also crucial. Current situation shows that newly arrived women have some substantial barriers to overcome before they are able to follow that ambition, since the majority of newly arrived women is low educated and has no working/entrepreneurial experience. Apart from that they also need to fight barriers related to own cultural values and gender. They therefore lack the basic qualification to be able to focus on starting an own business. This step is too big to be able to cover that in one training route. Therefore, experts indicate to focus on entrepreneurial attitude since that is more in line with their actual situation and will help them to start setting steps in their career, and maybe also start a business.
So, in IO2 training the practical “learning by doing” will be translated into ‘Entrepreneurial projects’. Participants are made responsible for planning, organising and running an Entrepreneurial project of their own: organising a food-festival, an exhibition, cultural evening, a ‘mini-enterprise’). This event is the red line in the training. Depending on the group this can be a light event or a more complex one. During the training sessions they will work on aspects of the event and the trainer will facilitate this by raising questions, reflection, feedback and supporting exercises which further enhance the learning process (for example on planning, on chairing a meeting, on promotion, on needs of the local community etc).
Conclusions. WeCan is an Erasmus+ project that aims to facilitate the integration of immigrant women both socially and in the labor market through entrepreneurship. The project will last 3 years. The leading organization and project coordinator is Folkuniversitetet. There are also 5 partner organizations from the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Cyprus, Greece and Ukraine.
Immigrant women and women who came from the territory of the military conflict (internally displaced persons, IDPs) quite often are not adapted to the conditions of the labor market and cannot find work for a long time. The solution to this problem should be the development of entrepreneurial attitude and soft skills of such women, which is the basis of the WeCan project goals. The activities involved in WeCan project include: development of training courses for immigrant women aimed at developing soft skills for starting and running a business, creating supportive networks for immigrant women with women and entrepreneurs NGOs, social enterprises and business associations, mentoring support by business consultants for women who want to start their own business.
Now, the first stage (IO1) of the project has been implemented, which made it possible to determine main problems of economic socialization and needs of immigrant women and IDPs. Based on the results of IO1, IO2 will be developed as a response to the existing problems and needs of the target groups.
- Summary report of partner research and workshop outcomes on immigrant women needs on the subject of entrepreneurship. URL: https://wecan.projectlibrary.eu/images/io1.pdf (date of request: 04.10.2020).
- Migration in Ukraine: facts and figures. URL: http://iom.org.ua/sites/default/files/iom-ukraine_facts-eng_2019.pdf (date of request: 04.10.2020).
- Ukrainian Institute of Social Studies (O.Iaremenko). URL: http://www.uisr.org.ua/ (date of request: 04.10.2020).
- Meurs, Dominique. "The role of discrimination in immigrant unemployment", Population & Societies, vol. no 546, no. 7, 2017, pp. 1-4.
- Nyberg, Anita. "Women and Men’s Employment in the Recessions of the 1990S and 2000S in Sweden", Revue de l'OFCE, vol. no 133, no. 2, 2014, pp. 303-334.
- Caron, Louise. «De qui mesure-t-on l’intégration ? Remigration des immigrés et insertion professionnelle en France », Population, vol. vol. 73, no. 3, 2018, pp. 503-542.
- Carcillo, Stéphane, et Marie-Anne Valfort. "Combating discrimination in the labour market", Notes du conseil d’analyse économique, vol. no 56, no. 2, 2020, pp. 1-12.
- Colucci, Michele, et Stefano Gallo. "Migration in Southern Europe since 1945: The entanglement of many mobilities", Revue européenne des migrations internationales, vol. vol. 34, no. 1, 2018, pp. 53-77.
- Immigrant women in Ukraine: problems and barriers in access to decent work. Кyiv, CEDOS Analytical Center, 2019. 44 p. URL: https://cedos.org.ua/system/articles/pdfvs/000/000/386/original/Female_Migrants_CEDOS-2019.pdf?1590071981.
Project number 2019-1-SE01-KA2045-060421