While migrant women do face gender discrimination, it is not the only or necessarily the primary form they encounter. Migrant women face multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination as women and as migrants, as well as on the basis of numerous interconnected characteristics, including age, income, race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, marital and family status, sexual orientation and gender identity, disability, health status, HIV status, pregnancy, place of residence and economic and social situation.

This discrimination affects the enjoyment by women and girls of their human rights (see A/HRC/35/10) and increases the likelihood that they will experience “targeted, compounded or structural discrimination”, including the risk of violence (see A/HRC/17/26). For example, when indigenous women migrate they are often exposed to social and economic exclusion, exploitation, gender-based violence and human rights violations. Objective 17 of the Global Compact for Migration emphasizes the need to eliminate all multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination (art. 33d) as well as providing migrants, especially migrant women, with access to complaint and redress mechanisms (art. 33e).

One tool to build capacity on conducting intersectional analysis in research and policy work is Canada’s GBA+ (gender-based analysis+). Drawing on the intersectionality model, GBA+ can be used to conduct policy-relevant research by considering the following:

  • Multiple aspects of identity are dynamic and socially constructed (for example, gender, ethnicity, class, sexuality and ability are fluid and flexible);
  • Multiple aspects of identity do not operate in isolation but are interactive (for example, gender is both shaped and influenced by other factors);
  • No one aspect of identity is necessarily more important than any other (for example, even if gender is considered in a research project, it may not be as important as other aspects); and
  • Each issue or problem under investigation requires a different set of aspects of identity (for example, sometimes it might be gender, ethnicity and class; other times it could be geography, gender and ability, etc).
Skip to content