Influencing women project
The Refugee Council has long been committed to campaigning for an asylum system that better meets the needs of refugee women. As part of this work, we influence policy by conducting research and engaging with decision makers. But the most powerful advocates for refugee women are refugee women themselves. This is why the Refugee Council began Influencing Women - a project, funded by Comic Relief, that equips refugee women with the skills they need to speak out about the need for change to the asylum system.
Supporting refugee women to become advocates
As part of this project, last summer the Refugee Council ran a five-day Advocacy and Influencing course for refugee women based in the north of England. Twenty women participated in workshops that increased their understanding of the influencing process, developed their public speaking skills and built their confidence to face the camera and respond to journalists’ questions. At the end of the course, each woman stood up and gave a five-minute speech about an issue that was important to them. The women spoke movingly about why asylum seekers should be allowed to work, the difficulties experienced by pregnant women in the asylum system and the challenges of living without cash. In early 2013, we are running this course again in London in partnership with Women for Refugee Women.
We use evidence collected from our clients and undertake research to support our calls for improvements to the asylum system for women.
Read our briefings, research and media articles here:
- When maternity doesn’t matter - dispersing pregnant women seeking asylum This joint Refugee Council and Maternity Action report looks at the experiences of pregnant women in the asylum system
- One Billion Rising: why Britain must do much more for abused women
- Refugee Council response to the consultation paper Strengthening Women’s Voices in Government [June 2011]
- OpenDemocracy: When nowhere is safe