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Refugee Women* Strike: Same, same but different. “Are we feminists?”

Call by Women in Exile & Friends

Most of us have been fighting all our lives because of our patriarcal cultural and religious backgrounds which impose violence on us, our bodies and minds.

We worked twice as hard as our male siblings but still our efforts were not considered to be good enough. At the same time we had to persevere things like FGM, sexual harassment and violence from family and spouses. We fought tendencies of discrimination in our families and in the society to be given equal opportunities in life. We fought different social and political battles to maintain our dignities as women.

We were not happy or satisfied with the little we had, so we decided to fight for our rights. These struggles and fights in our countries of origin had consequences which made us leave and undertake dangerous journeys. Journeys in which some lost their lives while others got raped and enslaved on the way. Most of those who managed to make these journeys are living in trauma and nightmares. They are forced to live in crowded, isolated, collective homes which lack privacy and on a daily basis experience sexual assault and exploitation.

8th March International Women’s Day is a global day remembering the historical, cultural, and political achievements of women. We celebrate 100 years of women fights because we are the mothers, we are the family caretakers, domestic workers, babysitters, cleaners.
We refugee women we are teachers, nurses, business women, engineers, etc. This and all other talents are not put into consideration because we are isolated and discriminated.

In 2019 we join the global call for a women’s strike because we come united to make visible women’s work in all aspects of life, inside and outside the house, in urban and rural areas, paid or unpaid no matter the colour of our skin or our origins.

It is time to build a feminism which is inclusive and inter-sectional, a feminism that listens to all women* and ends racist, sexist and discriminatory structures. Through experience, we are aware that fighting battles with women* is difficult because the society and the women* themselves think that women* are or should be happy with the little they have.

We cannot succeed if part of us are held back, as refugee women* we are double discriminated and we will continue denouncing racist’s laws, the existence of lagers and deportation policies. We will continue breaking borders by bringing awareness about colonialism and how it cannot be ignored since we have the right to peace, social inclusion and shared prosperity.

Our aim is to enable refugees who identifying themselves as women* to stand up for their rights as women* living in this society. And we expect from non-refugee women* an open minded solidarity in denouncing discrimination, racism, sexism and violence. It is time to look at our fights as same, same but different. We, refugee women, will join the civil society and be part of the fight to change the course of history.

We are women living in this society and part of the fight for a fair inclusive society.
To quote one activist: “The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organisation but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.”

Let’s strike and make the 2019 International Women`s day our day and do what we can to truly make a positive difference for all women.

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