Putting the rights of migrant women at the centre of the Global Compact for Migration


As world leaders convene to adopt the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (Global Compact for Migration) in Morocco this week, ensuring that the voices, experiences and needs of migrant women and girls is at the heart of the discussions, is the clarion call issued by UN Women.

Ahead of the Intergovernmental Conference to Adopt the Global Compact for Migration, taking place in Marrakech, Morocco, from 10 to 11 December, a high-level side event will discuss innovative and collaborative approaches to ensure that the Global Compact for Migration is implemented in a way that recognizes and addresses the different realities faced by migrant women, men, girls and boys by promoting and protecting their human rights at all stages of migration, while advancing gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.

The event titled, “Promoting Human Rights-Based and Gender-Responsive Implementation of the Global Compact for Migration,” co-organized by UN Women and the governments of Canada, Ethiopia, Germany and Mexico, as well as the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), will also discuss ways to promote the immense contributions that migrant women make at all stages of migration, and yet are consistently undervalued or unseen.

There are over 258 million migrants around the world today, and more than 50 per cent are women and girls.. The experience of migration differs significantly for women and men, girls and boys: every aspect of migration, from those who remain behind, to the decision to migrate, transiting across borders, to settling in the country of destination, is influenced deeply by gender considerations, including the discrimination that they may face.

For instance, women make up 73.4 per cent of international migrant domestic workers; yet, only 26 countries have ratified the ILO Convention on Domestic Workers (No. 189), which is imperative in promoting the rights and dignity of domestic workers, while recognizing the specific forms of discrimination and abuse faced by women.

Migration can provide immense opportunities and benefits not only for the migrants themselves and their families, but also for the countries of origin, transit and destination. As the first intergovernmentally negotiated agreement to cover all dimensions of international migration, the Global Compact for Migration builds upon the commitments made by governments in the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants. It presents an unmissable opportunity to ensure that migration governance contributes to achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls in line with the Sustainable Development Goal 5. By adopting a gender-responsive approach to the implementation of the compact, Member States can ensure that migration laws, policies, regulations and programmes promote and protect the human rights of all migrants. 

In support of this process, UN Women has developed “A Guide to Gender-Responsive Implementation of the Global Compact on Migration”. This practical guide for policy makers and practitioners on presents measures on how to ensure that the specific needs and situations of vulnerability of migrant women and girls are addressed in countries of origin, transit and destination, while recognizing the positive contributions they make at all stages of migration. The Policies and Practice Guide will be formally launched during the high-level side event on 8 December in Marrakech.

Follow the conversation at the conference using #ForMigration.

Migrant women in pictures

The roads travelled for work - Women Migrant Workers in Singapore and Malaysia

Top stories

Video: A returned migrant woman in Nepal finds a new start