Refugee women and NGOs
in Refugee women in Britain and France
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Some studies have focused on refugee women's activism in refugee community associations. There has been less interest in refugee women's participation in other political or civil society organisations. This chapter highlights refugee women's agency, countering the perception that they are passive victims, and describes their individual motivation and resources, and their experiences of participation in non-governmental organisations (NGOs). It suggests that refugee women may find the route into mainstream politics barred to them, either as a result of citizenship and nationality laws or as a result of less explicit but equally obstructive barriers such as exclusion from the types of profession which constitute the pool of political office holders, or discrimination on the part of party selectors. This chapter discusses individual, organisational, and environmental (for example, racism, poverty, exclusion) opportunities for and obstacles to NGO participation. It focuses on NGOs which have been particularly active in the triple role of providing material support and advice to refugee and asylum seeking women; campaigning for their rights; and fostering empowerment, political participation, and capacity building.

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