Data shows that female migrants are more vulnerable to discrimination and mistreatment than their male counterparts (Migration Data Portal, 2020), so with International Women’s Day coming up on the 8th March, MiFriendly Cities think it’s important to celebrate the inspirational stories of migrant and refugee women. In this article we hear about the challenges Florence, a MiFriendly Cities participant, faced after migrating to the UK.
When Florence, a highly qualified accountant that had previously worked in several senior management positions, migrated from the sunny Caribbean 3 years ago, she never imagined just how difficult it would be to find sustainable employment in the UK.
Confused and frustrated, Florence turned to the Refugee and Migrant Centre in Wolverhampton for help, where a case worker referred her to MiFriendly Cities. The project quickly got down to identifying the barriers that Florence was facing.
It was immediately realised that a lack of confidence was one of the main factors preventing Florence from gaining employment. Whilst she was highly qualified and the main breadwinner for her family, she – like many migrants and refugees – was nervous about going through a new process in a foreign land.
Over 6 months Florence put her heart into completing a detailed Individual Plan that had been created for her, comprising confidence building and job search and interview techniques.
Florence gained courage in applying for numerous jobs, finally securing employment as a finance officer at a local school!
Today, Florence considers the UK her home and alludes her success finding employment to the assistance that she received from the MiFriendly Cities project, “I was at the point of wanting to give up… [the struggle to find employment] was very depressing. However, the help and encouragement I received from the MiFriendly Cities project has given me hope that has reassured me that everything would be ok, and for that I am very grateful”.
We, on the other hand, allude her success to the unfaltering determination and strength of migrant and refugee women.
Florence continues to encourage and support other migrants like herself that are feeling demotivated because of the barriers they face to employment in the UK. We hope she will be an inspiration to many migrant and refugee women in a similar position.
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This project is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund through the Urban Innovative Actions Initiative.