Professor Sharon Pickering advocated for the importance of continued research on women who migrate irregularly in order to further contextualize gendered experiences of those who may be fleeing armed combat at last night’s Public Forum ‘International Women, Peace and Security Agenda: Australian Leadership, Australian Research’ hosted by the Castan Centre.
Such research will help to uncover issues pertinent to upholding the three pillars of the Women Peace and Security (WPS) Agenda, including preventing the derogation of rights of migrants, protecting them from violence before and during migration, and encouraging the participation of migrants in these discourses in order to have a meaningful and positive impact on their lives.
The Border Crossing Observatory’s research featured prominently at Public Forum where Professor Pickering presented gender based research work from BOb researchers, collaborators and graduate students who are researching various aspects of women’s experiences of migration and border control at different border sites around the world. She used a large map plotting the border sites where BOb researchers are working accompanied by a brief discussion of their research. Highlights included Dr. Gabriella Sanchez’s work on female smugglers at the Mexico-US border, Sirakul Suwinthawong’s research into Lao migrant women at the Thai border, Brandy Cochrane’s examination of irregular migrants who are pregnant during travel, and Dr. Alison Gerard’s exploration of female migrants and sex work in Malta.
Professor Pickering described how her own qualitative work with women migrants in transit in Indonesia are refusing to wait behind in refugee camps and home countries while their men attempt to migrate to Australia. Evidence shows that the number of asylum applications from women in Australia were up 12% in the last year.
Dr. Ronli Sifris, also from Monash University and Dr Lesley Pruitt from the University of Melbourne also presented at the Forum. Dr Sifris spoke about women’s involvement in post-conflict justice, and Dr. Pruitt spoke about all-women UN peacekeeper units and what they could bring to the WPS agenda. The Forum was chaired by Professor Jacqui True from Monash University whose work around gender and international relations helped to guide the panel.
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