Skip to main content

Navigating the Road to Equality

Navigating the Road to Equality

image 01

Migration, entrepreneurship and pushing gender stereotypes

I spoke to women and said you shouldn’t let yourself be maintained. You should know your own worth and be able to support yourself.

As IOM is launching its campaign the Road to Equality I have been given the chance to preview what is in store for the month March.

First up, I educated myself with the Road to Equality video. In less than two minutes it answers questions that have been lingering in the back of my mind for a long time. It sets out how gender impacts every aspect of migration: from how women set out on their journeys with less information, to how they’re more at risk along the way and how, when working abroad, women get a worse deal sending remittances to family back home.

There are positive elements too – women who have travelled abroad and then return home can come back with not only greater financial resources but also new cultural experiences. They can therefore be the ones who shake up gender stereotypes in their communities and pave the way for other young women to have a better life. This is something you will see in the videos made by returnee migrant volunteers, another element of the campaign that has inspired me with testimonies of West African women defying the odds in their daily lives.

Later this month, a series of five podcast episodes will bring you the voices of extraordinary West African women. One story that stuck with me was that of Souadou Niang, who talks about her experience of migration, entrepreneurship and what it is like to now be pushing against the gender stereotypes of what a boss looks like. She owns and runs The Palms Luxury Boutique Hotel in Dakar, Senegal, with its stylish rooms, two restaurants and excellent reputation that has attracted the attention of, among others, BBC News.

In the podcast, coming later this month, Souadou looks back on what she gained from travelling to the United States, her decision to return to her native Senegal and what she is doing now to support young women and men.