I would like first to pay my respect to all the women ancestors, all the witches that one day were born and executed in the fire, I pay my deepest admiration to all women from 1991 that were fighting and still fighting for our rights in this piece of land named Switzerland. And I want to acknowledge as well, the biggest woman that gave birth to the whole humanity and this is Mother Earth.
As a migrant woman, I refuse to talk just about my personal experience, for this reason, we have build a collective process in which migrant women from all latitudes living in this country constructed together this text that today I am privileged to share with all of you.
Declaration of migrant women living in Switzerland
This is what we migrant women living in this country, want to say at this historical day:
- Still many people believe that migrant women have limited goals in mind when they come to this country. Many people think that they only want to get married, have children an stay at home maintained by a man. Still many people think that women in the world only want to migrate to a country like Switzerland to take advantage of the social system and live immerse in the debt forever. Still many people judge that migrant women are good for cleaning houses and take care of children, elders or just others. Still many people sexualizing the bodies of migrant „exotic“ women and stigmatize their sexuality.
- But the reality is different. The reality for some of us is the forced invisibility. We are immersed in a vice circle of exclusion, implicit in the culture and hidden with violence. The reality for us migrant women is that many of us are not allowed to work because of bad residence permits, just in case we find a job! Nor can we divorce even if men abuse us and our children because we could lose our right of residence and with it the chance to see our babies grow. Among us there are women living precariously, like refugees, without having the chance to be a real member of this society, and they are even blamed for living like that.
- The possibilities of integration are even deep limited when the world of work is prohibited because of dequalification and discrimination due to origin, religion, skin color, language, but also due to the fact that we are not only migrant but also women and the intersectionality of all these factors means that the discriminations are multiples, promoting implicit mistrust against migrant women and even institutionalizing serious violations of human rights like discrimination, exclusion, racism and xenophobia.
- We are always in proof of our knowledge under this system that excluded us by force. Our qualifications, our work and professional experiences in our original countries are disregarded in Switzerland. Discrimination is disguised in the name of lack of the language; and when the language is known, the qualifications are not enough of to much.
- Nonetheless we still walking side by side with Swiss woman regardless limitations and stigmas imposed to ourselves by capitalism and patriarchal system, the same system that impose to us fear of expressing ourselves, fears to speak wrong, but we need to speak up. We should not be afraid to lose our rights if we express our ideas, and we should aim to reach the media with our voice. We need to be present and we need to show up ourselves because we also exist in this country!
- We migrant women, declare ourselves in permanent sisterhood with all women of this city, this country and worldwide. We are all women living in this country, despite the fact that we have different nationalities, cultures and social status. So I call all women to embrace the Sisterhood and to fight together for more equality in the work, in the family, in politics, in the media, everywhere and for all women.
- This historic day, we migrant women declare ourselves in permanent construction of equality, freedom and women’s justice!
In sisterhood and resistance!
We all are one! Today and forever!
Collective speech of Migrant women Living in Switzerland