Gender, intersectionality, and migration

Table of Contents:

Moroccan women migrants in Europe and Afro-American women: a comparison

There are a few significant similarities between Moroccan women migrants in Europe and African-American women in the United States. Like African-American women, Moroccan women migrants in Europe continue to suffer from steep poverty and unemployment rates that are 42% higher than white women— they find themselves in marginalization positions within society.60 The concept of intersectionality, which grew out of the black feminist movement,61 helps us understand the ways in which both African-American and Moroccan migrant women are marginalized and provides a lens through which to examine both of their lived experiences. The intersectionality paradigm analyzes marginalized and oppressed women combining their multiple identities, including social class, ethnic identity, migration status, gender, and power. The paradigm posits that it is the combination of the multiple identities, that cannot be analyzed in isolation, that contributes to the unique lived experiences of a particular group.

Thus far, this chapter has applied a descriptive approach to examining the impact of intersectionality on marginalized women’s lives—examining the history of why Moroccan women have migrated to Europe and how their migration results in a transformative experience for the women and the communities in which they reside. From this description, my readings, and my data analysis, three salient themes emerge and connect with intersectionality. The first, self-sacrifice, depicts how these women’s actions and behavior reflect a historical tendency of altruistic giving, sharing, and caring for their families, friends, and entourage. Women are often relegated to gendered roles where they are categorized as caregivers. In these overly gendered roles, both African-American and Moroccan

Moroccan women migrants in Europe 169 women migrants are expected to act in self-sacrificing ways where their own needs are subjugated to the needs of their communities. Similarly, African-American women were kept in “the roles of provider, nurturer, and protector, which were necessary for the survival of the Black family unit in a White, male-dominant society.”62 For Moroccan migrant women, this phenomenon is displayed in their work, sharing of remittances, and even in the leadership positions in which they obtain in becoming the voice to speak for migrant women, Muslim women, and women in the Maghreb. The self-sacrificing role acknowledges that Moroccan migrant women cannot be seen solely in their roles as a woman, migrant, Moroccan, or Muslim. It is at the intersection of these identities in which the Moroccan migrant woman subsumes herself to constantly place the family and communities’ needs above her own. Like African-American women, the strength and adaptability of Moroccan migrant women have proved critical to maintaining the family unit in the community. They have often undertaken the responsibility of heads-of-household while living with limited resources.

The second theme, marginalization, describes how both African-American and Moroccan migrant women are relegated to the margins of society. Intersec-tionality unpacks how African-American women and Moroccan migrant women have endured life at the margins at the intersection. Marginalization can only be understood as a concept in that it expounds on how societal factors such as discrimination, oppression, and power relations combine to shape the lives and experiences of these marginalized women. When examined disjointedly, the consequences of segregation, repression, and domination have proven to have a harmful effect on their social lives and psychological and physiological health.6'’ Other researchers have elucidated that the nervous tension of life at the margins when coupled with racism and xenophobia leads to physical ailments and curtails life expectancy.64

The third theme, invisibility, illustrates how these women remain invisible individuals, in spite of their productivity. It is my argument that, like African-American women, Moroccan women migrants in Europe have multiple identities and individual factors that intersect to contribute to their remaining at the margins—unemployed and poor. However, there are negative results of female migration for women. Like African-American women in the United States, many Moroccan female migrants complain that they lack access to resources that would provide them with support during periods of unemployment, emotional crisis, or health problems. There are many unhelpful stereotypes about Muslim women as oppressed and passive human beings with no power whatsoever to make any changes in their lives.65 Although a few of the participants attended associations, activities, and group meetings, they often felt out of place or did not think European people could understand their migration situations. The lack of suitable resources to deal with their socioeconomic and cultural challenges served to further marginalize these women and may have contributed to job loss, low income, or identity crises. The overwhelming majority of these women are largely assigned the least prestigious jobs, such as services, domestic work, and clothing industries. Because their skills arc not always acknowledged,

they are compelled to work in areas that have little to do with the training they have received. Given the increasing rate of racial and gender-based discrimination, a significant number of women have resorted to self-employment in pursuit of economic and social welfare.

The descriptive findings within the research demonstrate that even though Moroccan women migrants live on the edge of the margins, they are overcoming through submission of remittances back to Morocco and taking on unprecedented leadership roles in their host countries. These three themes raise multiple implications for future research as a result which include a community-based research project to unravel the economic, social and psychological effects of discrimination, establishing culturally sensitive research tools that quantify marginalization, and implementing interdisciplinary methods that study gender, ethnic discrimination and social disparities.66

Conclusion

This chapter corroborates recent research that Moroccan women regard migration as an opportunity to build new lives.67 Women’s emancipation through migration undermines the patriarchal authority that traditionally subjugates women and confines them to the home and the rearing of children. This is one of the main reasons why the clear majority of women believe that migration is irreversible and is a survival strategy that helps them focus on building a better future in their new country. Thus, they represent a new type of feminism, which contributes to the subversion of old gender roles, gender equity, the culture of sharing and dialogue, and social development.

Across Europe, female Moroccan immigrants have contributed and partaken in various fields, which, by and large, have helped advance their host countries and their own society. At home and in Europe, they have developed strategies for resisting social injustice, discrimination, and other forms of oppression. Through their hard work, they have created a broad, North African identity, providing their communities with a sense of participation in European public life. They have learned skills and adapted their customs and beliefs to European lifestyles. They have equally established positive attitudes and practices to affect their own communities, even though hegemonic European powers could interfere at will. These kinds of sociocultural and political contributions by Moroccan Muslim immigrants have evolved in unique ways. The participation of Moroccan women migrants in economic development is often significant and affects their environment as well as their gender roles. It fosters empowerment and contributes to the transgression of patriarchal gender relations.

Their contributions have affected the transformations taking place in twenty-first century Europe, which, according to many researchers, could foster migrants’ integration and the strengthening of Europe’s relations with North African States. This encounter could equally contribute to consolidating the dialogue between Muslims and Westerners and to developing economic, social, and cultural exchanges between Europe and North Africa. Similarly, intersectionalityhelps us better understand social disparities among migrant women and is manifested in the consciousness of the participants as discrimination, marginalization, existential invisibility, and resistance.

Notes

  • 1 Caitlin Killian, North African Women in France: Gender, Culture, and Identity (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2006).
  • 2 Fatima Sadiqi, “Muslim North African Women and Migration in the Context of Globalization,” in New Horizons of Muslim Diaspora in Europe and North America, edited by Moha Ennaji (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), 163-175; see also Bureau des Statistiques (Rabat: 2004, 2009); UNESCO Report, 1998; Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 73 of the Convention: International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families: Initial Reports of States Parties due in 2004: Morocco, https://digital library.un.org/record/743795/files/CMW_C_MAR_l-EN.pdf.
  • 3 Moha Ennaji, Muslim Moroccan Migrants in Europe: Transnational Migration in Its Multiplicity (New York: Palgrave 2014), see chap. 2, “How Moroccans Live in Europe.”
  • 4 Mara A. Leichtman, “Transforming Brain Drain into Capital Gain: Morocco’s Changing Relationship with Migration and Remittances,” The Journal of North African Studies?, no. 1 (2002): 109-137.
  • 5 Ennaji, Muslim Moroccan Migrants in Europe, see chap. 2, “How Moroccans Live in Europe.”
  • 6 André Lebon, “Europe and International Migration: The Situation in 1983,” Studi Emigrazione: International Journal of Migration Studies 21, no. 73 (March 1984): 1-42.
  • 7 Fatima Mernissi, The Harem Within: Talcs of a Moroccan Girlhood, reprint ed. (New York: Bantam, 1995), 5.
  • 8 Patricia Hill Collins, Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment (New York: Routledge, 2008); Marie Claire Belleau, “Inter-sectionality: Feminisms in a Divided World; Québec-Canada,” in Feminist Politics: Identity, Difference, and Agency, edited by Deborah Orr et al. (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers), 51-59; Kimberlé W. Crenshaw, “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics,” University of Chicago Legal Forum 1989, no. 1 (1989): 139-167.
  • 9 Abdelkrim Belguendouz, Le Maroc coupable d’émigration et de transit vers l’Europe (Unknown Binding, 2000).
  • 10 Moha Ennaji and Fatima Sadiqi, Migration and Gender in Morocco: The Impact of Migration on the Women Left Behind (Trenton, NJ: Red Sea Press, 2008): 82-84.
  • 11 Mohamed Bachir Hamdouch, Les Marocains Résidant à L’étranger: Une Enquête Socio-économique (Rabat: Fondation Hassan II pour les MRE; FNUAP; INSEA, 2000).
  • 12 Lamine Ghanmi, “Analysis—Drought Highlights Morocco’s Need for Farm Reform,” Reuters, May 24, 2007, www.reuters.com/article/idUSL2471235220070524.
  • 13 Wilfred Tichagwa, “The Effects of Drought on the Condition of Women,” Gender and Development 2, no. 1 (1994): 20-25, doi:10.1080/09682869308520019.
  • 14 Fatima Sadiqi and Moha Ennaji, “The Impact of Male Migration from Morocco to Europe on Women,” Finisterra 39, no. 77 (2004): 59-76.
  • 15 For more information, see Moha Ennaji, “Poverty Still a Major Cause for Concern in Morocco,” Morocco World News, December 19, 2017, www. moroccoworld news. com/2017/12/236710/poverty-morocco-essaouira-stampcde-illiteracy/#respond;

see also Alexis Palmer, “Fatal Stampede for Food Aid Follows Drought in Rural Morocco,” Northeastern University Global Institute, December 4, 2017, accessed on January 26, 2018, https://globalresilience.northeastern.edu/2017/12/fatal-stampede-for-food-aid-follows-drought-in-rural-morocco/.

Ennaji and Sadiqi, Migration and Gender in Morocco; Touria Khannous, “Moroccan Women Contrabandists: Interferences in Public Space,” in Women in the Middle East, Agents of Change, edited by Fatima Sadiqi and Moha Ennaji (London: Routledge, 2010), 324-338.

See Mohamed Khachani, L’Emigration au Féminin: Tendances Récentes au Maroc, Budapest: Robert Schuman Institute, 2009, http://cadmus.eui.eu/bitstream/ handle/1814/11613/CARIM_AS&N_2009_26.pdf?sequence=l.

Mohamed Khachani, La Femme Maghrébine Immigrée dans L’Espace Economique des Pays d’Accueil, Quelques Repères, 2001, accessed on February 21, 2017, www. archive-iussp.org/Brazil2001/s20/S27_P08_Kachani.pdf; Zineb Daoud, ed., “Basic Skills for the Vocational Integration of Moroccan Women and Girls,” in Immigrant Women and Migration (Strasbourg: Council of Europe Press, 1995), 71-78.

Sadiqi and Ennaji, Migration and Gender in Morocco, 82-84.

Ibid.

Moroccan Association for Studies and Research on Migration (AMERM), ed., La Migration Clandestine Enjeux et Perspectives [Rabat: Publication of L’Association Marocaine d’Etudes et de Recherches sur les Migrations (AMERM); Faculté des Droit, 2000].

Ibid.

Sadiqi and Ennaji, Migration and Gender in Morocco, 82-84.

Ibid., see chap. 3.

United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, At a Glance: Morocco, accessed on May 25, 2018, www.unicef.org/infobycountry/morocco_statistics. html?p=printme.

Hajare El Khaldi, Women’s Unemployment Hampers Economic Progress in Morocco, Morocco World News, April 4, 2018 accessed on May 25, 2018, www.moroccoworldnews.com/2018/04/243751/womens-unemployment-hampers-economic-progress-morocco/.

Aida Alami, “Underpaid and Unskilled, Moroccan Women Behind in the Workplace,” Financial Times, November 23, 2015, accessed on May 25, 2018, www.ft.com/ content/4c90dc22-6e97-lle5-8171-bal968cf791a.

Moha Ennaji, “Violence against Women in Morocco,” in Gender and Violence in the Middle East, edited by Moha Ennaji and Fatima Sadiqi (New York: Routledge, 2011), 200-218.

Killian, North African Women in France, 36.

The names present in the study are fictional in order to respect the privacy of the individuals. Ennaji, Muslim Moroccan Migrants in Europe.

Ibid.

Ibid.

Ibid.

Ibid.

Ibid.

Parvati Raghuram and Irene Hardill, “Negotiating a Market: A Case Study of an Asian Woman in Business,” Women’s Studies International Forum, 21, no. 5 (1998): 475-483.

Caroline Essers, “Entrepreneurship on the Public-Private Divide: Businesswomen of Turkish and Moroccan Descent Playing Family Ties,” Paper presented at Reconnecting Diversity to Critical Organization and Gender Studies Critical Management

Studies Conference, Manchester, July 11-13, 2007, accessed on December 21, 2017, www.mngt.waikato.ac.nz/ejrot/cmsconference/2007/proceedings/reconnecting diversity/essers.pdf.

Ennaji, “Migration, Development, and Gender in Morocco,” in Migration et Diversité Culturelle, edited by Moha Ennaji (Mohammedia: Fedala Press, 2007), 69-85; Khachani, La Femme Maghrébine Immigrée dans L’Espace Economique des Pays ¿’Accueil, Quelques Repères, 2001.

See Muriel Laurent et al., “Etude : L’entrepreneuriat Féminin En Région de Bruxelles-Capitale | AGENCE BRUXELLOISE,’’September 1,2 013,https://www. abe-bao. be/fr/documents/etude-lentrepreneuriat-feminin-en-region-de-bruxelles-capitale. Ennaji, Muslim Moroccan Migrants in Europe.

Ennaji, Muslim Moroccan Migrants in Europe. Cf. Khachani, Les Marocains d’ailleurs and Kacem Basfao and Hinde Taarji, L’annuaire de l’émigration: Maroc (Afrique-Orient, 1994), 228.

Floya Anthias, et al., eds., Paradoxes of Integration: Female Migrants in Europe (New York: Springer. 2013).

Ibid.

Angelique Chrisafis, The Rise and Fall of Rachida Dati, The Guardian, November 19, 2008, accessed May 25, 2018, www.theguardian.com/world/2008/nov/20/ rachida-dati-france-sarkozy-pregnant.

May Bulman, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem: France’s First Female Education Minister is Making Her Mark, Independent, August 30, 2016, accessed on May 25, 2018, www.independent.co.uk/news/people/najat-vallaud-belkacem-france-politics-burkini-a72I4456.html.

See Ennaji, Muslim Moroccan Migrants in Europe.

Henry Samuel, Sarkozy Choses Left-Wingers for Cabinet, Telegraph, May 14, 2007, accessed on May 25, 2018, www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1551506/Sarkozy-choses-left-wingers-for-cabinet.html.

Elaine Sciolino, French Cabinet Position Not Enough? Then Try Mayor, New’ York Times, January 13, 2008, accessed on May 25, 2018, www.nytimes.com/ 2008/01/13/world/europe/l 3france.html.

Member of the European Parliament Webpage for Rachida Dati, accessed on May 25, 2018, www.rachida-dati.eu/parlement-europeen.

Henry Samuel, Sarkozy Choses Left-Wingers for Cabinet.

Burqa is a long, loose dress covering the whole female body from head to feet, worn in public by women in several Gulf and Asian Muslim countries.

Niqab is a veil that covers the head and face except tor the eyes, and is worn by some Islamic women in public.

Karla Dieseldorff, Belgo-Moroccan Nadia Sminate Becomes Mayor of Londer-zeel, Morocco World News, January 3, 2016, accessed on May 25, 2018, www. moroccoworld news.com/2016/01/176602/belgo-moroccan-nadia-sminate-becomes-mayor-of-londerzeel/.

Ennaji and Sadiqi, Migration and Gender in Morocco, see chap. 9.

See Abdelkrim Belguendouz, La Communauté Marocaine à L’étranger et la Nouvelle Marche Marocaine (Kenitra: Elboukili, 1999); Ennaji, Muslim Moroccan Migrants in Europe, chap. 5.

Myriam Cherti, Paradoxes of Social Capital: A Multi-Generational Study of Moroccans in the UK (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, IMISCOE Dissertations, 2008), 21.

Ennaji, “Moroccan Migrants in Europe and Islamophobia,” Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 30, no. 1 (2010): 14-20.

Leichtman, “Transforming Brain Drain into Capital Gain.”

Ennaji, Muslim Moroccan Migrants in Europe.

  • 60 Teri D. Armour Burton, “The Lived Experience of Intersectionality among African American Women with Breast Cancer” (Doctoral dissertation, University of San Diego, 2017), 90; Ennaji, Muslim Moroccan Migrants in Europe, Leo Lucassen, The Immigrant Threat (Urbana and Chicago, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2005).
  • 61 Crenshaw, “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex,” 139-167.
  • 62 Armour Burton, “The Lived Experience of Intersectionality among African American Women with Breast Cancer,” 90.
  • 63 Alex L. Pieterse, et al., “Racism-Related Stress, General Life Stress, and Psychological Functioning Among Black American Women,” Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development 41, no. 1 (2013): 36-46, doi:10.1002/j.2161-1912.2013.00025.x; Sarah L. Szanton et al., “Racial Discrimination is Associated With a Measure of Red Blood Cell Oxidative Stress: A Potential Pathway for Racial Health Disparities,” International Society of Behavioral Medicine 19 (2012): 489-495, doi:10.1007/ S12529-011-9188-Z.
  • 64 Jessica L. Harding et al., “Psychological Stress is Positively Associated With Body Mass Index Gain Over 5 Years: Evidence from the Longitudinal AusDiab Study,” Obesity Journal 22 (2014): 277-286, doi:10.1002/oby.20423; Robert P. luster, et al., “Allostatic Load Biomarkers of Chronic Stress and Impact on Health and Cognition,” Neuro Science and Biobehavioral Reviews 35, no. 1 (2010): 2-16, doi:10.1016/j. neubiorev.2009.10.002.
  • 65 John R. Bowen, Why the French Don’t Like Headscarves: Islam, the State, and Public Space (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2007).
  • 66 Crenshaw, “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex,” 139-167; Armour Burton, “The Lived Experience of Intersectionality among African American Women with Breast Cancer,” 90.
  • 67 Killian, North African Women in France.

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