Stronger Together: Migrant Women Launch their 2019 Election manifesto


Thursday 9 May 2019


Migrant women from dozens of organisations have come together as Migrant Women na hÉireann to launch a pre-election manifesto outlining their priorities for voting in  Ireland’s 2019 local and European elections.

Salome Mbugua, AkiDwA Head of Operation & Strategy said: “ Ireland will be going to the polls on Friday May 24th for local and European elections. Despite the fact that one in eight of us here in Ireland is from a migrant background, the migrant woman is too often a forgotten part of Irish society.”
Our efforts are rarely acknowledged, so as a collective we came together to highlight the incredible work being undertaken by migrant women in communities across Ireland every day.

Nusha Yonkova, Gender & Anti-trafficking Expert, Immigrant Council of Ireland said: “This is also an opportunity to ask all candidates and political parties to acknowledge the contribution migrant women are making and to do more to address the inherent challenges they and their communities face, especially in relation to accessing work, housing, education, appropriate healthcare including mental and reproductive health services, as well as their particular vulnerability in relation to gender based violence.”

Sandra Ruiz, local election candidate and co-founder Migrant Women United said: “Being able to work is massively important for personal dignity and it is one of the most effective ways to integrate. However migrant women face multiple barriers amounting to structural discrimination in accessing the labour market. Our challenges include getting our qualifications recognised in Ireland and accessing affordable childcare. Many of us lack the family and social networks others may have, and we can face unconscious bias from employers when it comes to having unfamiliar names and international accents”.

Ms Ruiz, who is originally from Cordoba in Spain is running for the Social Democrats in Tallaght.

She said: More Pro-active efforts by the state and employers to promote the positives of diversity are desperately needed

Ireland also needs more migrant women in leadership positions.

Emilia Marchelewska, Health Advocacy Officer and Mental Health Project Lead, Cairde said: “Among the barriers migrant women face accessing healthcare are information provision and cultural sensitivity. Too often women might not know their healthcare rights and not enough is being done to communicate with communities, especially when it relates to more sensitive issues such as mental and reproductive healthcare. We need language and culturally competent mainstream health services complemented by targeted peer-led outreach to more hard-to-reach communities. Collecting and monitoring data on ethnicity and access to plus use of services, alongside full implementation of the current health strategies and policies would be a useful first step.”

Rosemary Kunene, Voices of Migrant Ireland, said, “Access to education is arguably the most important tool to support people in achieving their potential. It is therefore crucially important that women from a migrant background are fully supported to access education and proactive efforts are made to overcome the barriers they face, including targeted resources where necessary. Recent research revealed seven in 10 people in Ireland believe that refugee and asylum seeking children should have equal access to education and training, so it is time we saw effective measures to make that a reality”

Teresa Buczkowska, Integration Coordinator, Immigrant Council of Ireland said: “Underpinning our manifesto is a joint commitment to end racism in Irish society. Sadly our experience has shown that systemic racism is a key barrier to getting a job, accessing education and getting effective healthcare and support. As a collective and society we are fully committed to calling for measures to tackle racism, including the introduction of effective hate crime legislation and a National Action Plan Against Racism”


Note to editors

Migrant Women na hÉireann launched their empowerment manifesto ahead of the 2019 local and European elections at 2pm on 9 May in Buswells Hotel, Molesworth Street, Dublin 2.

Spokespeople on the headline topics are available for media interviews.


Pippa Woolnough, Communications and Advocacy Manager,, 085 864 0682

Shan Kelly, Communications Officer, AkiDwA, 086 664 1667

AkiDwA logo
Ireland’s network for migrant women
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