International Conference on Gender and Migration: Critical Issues and Policy Implications

Mar 28, 2014 12:48

11-13 May, 2013 - Marmara University, Istanbul, Turkey

International Conference- Gender & Migration: Critical Issues & Policy Implications


Between May 11-13 an international conference programme on Gender & Migration: Critical Issues & Policy Implications took place at the Sultanahmet campus of Marmara University. The conference was organised by the London Centre for Social Studies in collaboration with the Centre for Migration Policy Research, Swansea University; Gender Institute, London School of Economics; and the Department of Sociology, Marmara University.

The theme of the conference was of timely importance especially as the concept of migration continues to receive strong media coverage during a time of global economic uncertainty. The concept of gender in migration was unique with the conference receiving strong interest well in-excessive of 200 paper submissions for presentations alone. The conference brought together a number of students, academics and people from the third sector from all over the world to share their work and give presentations.

The keynote speakers for the conference were Prof Heather Crawley from the University of Swansea and Dr Sibel Kalaycioglu from the Middle East Technical University (Turkey). Prof Crawley stated that migration is increasingly being understood in the context of gender. Prof Crawley argues that there has been a lack of gender-sensitivity towards women who are fleeing their homeland for gender-related issues such as rape and honour-killing and this has only really gained attention since the 1980s. She further argues that national and international policy has not addressed the gender issues when dealing with migration. Interestingly she stated that refugee women’s and men’s experiences are the outcome of gender, race, class, sexuality and age. Prof Crawley’s speech was chaired by Prof Talip Kucukcan, Marmara University.

Dr Kalaycioglu’s keynote speech focused more specifically on Turkey and Turkish Migrants. Kalaycioglu argues that despite Turkish women migrants increasing their prospects of gaining employment, their labour market participation still remains relatively low, especially in urban areas due to their lack of adequate skills and education. Care work in the informal sector has been a route to employment for women who have migrated from rural areas due to their lack of employment and skills. Discrimination, abuse (including violence) and poor working conditions are some of the situations which these workers in the informal sector have faced as a consequence. Dr Kalaycioglu also stated that reciprocity and solidarity in internally-migrating families in Turkey has remained strong. Dr Kalaycioglu’s speech was chaired by Amanda Gray form UNHCR.

There were 24 panel sessions during the conference with a wide range of issues having been covered within the gender & migration framework.  Topics included country-specific gender-inequality, health of gendered immigrants, the role of masculinity in migration, forced migration, migrant females’ participation in the labour market, integration, working conditions of nannies, the Roma community and pensioner migration. A variety of countries were analysed in presentations, including the UK, Italy, Turkey, China, India, Iran, Nigeria, Mexico, Burundi and Canada.

On the third day of the conference programme the participants got the opportunity to do an Istanbul City tour. Dr Eda Unlu-Yucesoy form Istanbul Sehir University gave a talk on the historical change of the city of Istanbul at the Institute of Eurasia, Istanbul University. The participants then got a guided walking tour of Istanbul’s historic sights before a boat tour commenced on the famous Bosphourus.

The conference was kindly supported by the Umraniye Muncipality and the Fatih Munciplaity who both sponsored the conference dinners.

Organised by: London Centre for Social Studies (LCSS) in collaboration with the Gender Institute at the London School of Economics (LSE), the Centre for Migration Policy Research at Swansea University and the Department of Sociology, Marmara University.

The conference proceedings is now available, please click here.


Dr Helen Hintjens

International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), Erasmus University Rotterdam

Latefa Guemar

Associate at LCSS & Gender Institute Visiting Fellow, LSE

Prof Ali Murat Yel

School of Communications, Marmara University

Prof Heaven Crawley

Professor of International Migration and Director of the Centre for Migration Policy Research (CMPR), Swansea University

Seref Kavak

Former Academic Coordinator at LCSS & Researcher at Keele University

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