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Building ethnic, refugee and gender relations : ethnic refugee women in the Waikato : improving their socio-economic status through community organisations?

The purpose of this thesis is to analyse the role of community organisations in the resettlement of refugee¹ ethnic women in the Waikato. Do community organisations (women organisations, ethnic organisations, religious groups and other organisations) support refugee women to improve their socio-economic status by getting them into paid jobs? As it is demonstrated through quantitative data obtained from census statistics and from WINZ² clients data and from qualitative information obtained from focus groups discussions, individual interviews, questionnaires, and participant observation, community organisations are supporting refugee women in their resettlement process by improving their life skills, such as giving them English lessons, organising cooking classes, driving skills, counselling and life orientation programmes. They are not employment agencies; they limit their support to women who come to seek services. They are patriarchal and hierarchical; they are limited to their mission statement and by funding. As refugee women are the principal caregivers of the family, they are facing different burdens due to their refugee status, their cultural background and their family tasks while they lack skills, have little education, are confronted by racism and discrimination and have big family size. Thus in order to study the integration of the ethnic women into New Zealand society, I have approached this task by looking at different theories of integration, Post-Colonialism, Critical Realism, Gender Inequalities and Justice. Women's empowerment is limited by assuming their family task and motherhood function. Refugee women who have various skills will fight to enter the labour force to pursue their career or to further their education, but the cost of loans and the uncertainty of getting a job keep these women at home. Ethnic refugee women need an ethnic approach for their integration into the community and their integration still depends on their socio-economic status. Community organisations need to meet these women in their principal areas of gathering, such as Mosques, Temples, churches, ethnic community meetings, community centres or during special ceremonies (party, wedding ... ). Refugee women have various skills that can be developed for their empowerment and their participation in the development of Waikato to recover their past life prior to becoming refugees, and plan a new future life by improving their socioeconomic status.
Type of thesis
Lepina, M.-C. M. (2003). Building ethnic, refugee and gender relations : ethnic refugee women in the Waikato : improving their socio-economic status through community organisations? (Thesis, Master of Social Sciences (MSocSc)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/12844
The University of Waikato
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