Fight against discrimination against racialized women in employment
Members of the RAFIQ Anti-Discrimination and Racism Committee. From left to right: Yasmina Chouakri, General Manager of RAFIQ, Michelle Hangnilo, Project Coordinator and Executive Assistant of RAFIQ, Olga Ruiz Martinez, Committee Member, Anissa Chaabane, Committee Member, and Mariame Cissé, Deputy Director of Federation of Cultural Communities of Estrie.
In the midst of a labor shortage in Quebec, the non-recognition of diplomas and experience acquired outside Quebec by immigrant women puts a brake on their access to the labor market.
The Anti-Discrimination and Racism Committee of the Action Network for the Equality of Immigrant and Racialized Women in Quebec (RAFIQ) has unveiled its findings and recommendations to combat discrimination and racism against immigrant women and racialized people in the labor market, during a press conference held on March 28.
Resulting from a collaborative project carried out over two years, the plea, which will be published shortly on the organization's website, addresses in particular the obstacles that hinder the integration of immigrant women into Quebec society, including the wage gap, the difficulty of access to a job corresponding to their skills and the non-recognition of their academic and professional achievements.
“We hope that these recommendations will encourage institutions, governments, organizations and public and private employers to implement these concrete measures to support immigrant and racialized women and guarantee them equal rights and treatment,” says Mariame Cissé. , member of the committee.
A system that ignores skills
Among the issues discussed is that of the non-recognition of diplomas and experience acquired outside Quebec by immigrant women.
In an interview with Métro, Yasmina Chouakri, Executive Director of RAFIQ, indicates that this problem remains at the origin of the deskilling of a large number of immigrant women in employment, in the midst of a labor shortage in Quebec.
“We encourage highly educated immigrant women to work in traditionally female sectors that do not correspond to their level of skills and which are not paid adequately.”
For her part, Michelle Hangnilo, project coordinator and executive assistant at RAFIQ, deplores the fact that women who have graduated abroad are pushed to turn to rapid training to take up jobs as beneficiary attendants, daycare educators or customer service representatives, who do not correspond to their qualifications.
She also regrets the significant indebtedness of immigrant women who return to school in order to obtain a new diploma in Quebec in order to be able to work in their domain.
They are forced to take training to acquire a level of skills that they already had before arriving here.
Michelle Hangnilo, Action Network for the Equality of Immigrant and Racialized Women in Quebec
“This discourages many women, who then turn to short training [in another field] in order to enter the labor market,” she says.
The RAFIQ proposes the creation of a working group made up of the sectoral committee for the workforce and immigrant women's organizations in order to advance the issue of the recognition of diplomas in Quebec.
< p>It also calls for actions to promote training in science and technical trades among young women of immigrant origin.
As part of its projectDevelop the leadership of immigrant women in the fight against discrimination and racism, the network organized 22 awareness-raising workshops last fall, in partnership with women's and immigrant reception and integration organizations across the province.
More than 300 immigrant women participated in workshops aimed at making them aware of their rights and the resources available to them to report situations of discrimination.
We have collected many testimonials from women discouraged by the professional difficulties they encounter. Their self-esteem is shattered by their experiences.
Michelle Hangnilo, RAFIQ's Executive Assistant and Project Coordinator
RAFIQ's Executive Director, Yasmina Chouakri, points out that the workshops aimed to ” equip immigrant women to become leaders to defend their rights and fight daily against all forms of discrimination and systematic racism.”
“Unfortunately, few immigrant women file complaints when they are victims of discrimination and racism in employment, housing or other matters.”
Tighten the screws on the public sector
She attributes the ineffectiveness of existing employment equity policies to the lack of accountability of public bodies, which “are not accountable” in this regard.
“This is a problem that has persisted for many years, while Quebec has all the legal tools necessary to remedy systemic discrimination in employment,” says Ms. Chouakri.
She deplores the limited power of the Human Rights Commission with public bodies that do not reach the hiring ratio of people from ethnocultural minorities, indigenous people or people with disabilities.
We must remove all obstacles to integration into employment in all sectors of society. Unfortunately, it will not move forward if it does not become an obligation.
Yasmina Chouakri, Executive Director of RAFIQ
The committee calls for the broadening of the application of the Access Act equality in employment in the public service, in particular with ministries, as well as the establishment of systematic monitoring and coercive measures in the event of non-compliance with its application.
Equal access to employment, a priority
Mrs. and its partners to continue to address all these issues in the coming years, reiterating however that the question of employment will undoubtedly remain a priority.
“We are talking about a labor shortage , but there is a skilled and experienced workforce that is already there and that is not being exploited,” she concludes.
This text was produced as part of The Local Journalism Initiative.