Not Born a Refugee Woman: Contesting Identities, Rethinking Practices

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Maroussia Hajdukowski-Ahmed, Nazilla Khanlou, Helene Moussa
Berghahn Books, Jan 1, 2008 - Social Science - 323 pages
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Identity is constructed through a relational and contextual process informed by many factors - particularly gender. According to UNHCR, uprootedness caused by various forms of forced displacement affects about 37 to 40 million women and children in the world, posing major challenges to their identity and agency. Even though institutions and organizations have increasingly sought their participation, refugee women still find themselves in situations “where policies are generated, and programs delivered with little or no input from them” (Indra, 1989). This volume explores identity in all its complexities, in the increasingly racialized post-September 11th context, from the perspective of refugee women. Through the analysis of local examples and international case studies, the authors explore gendered factors such as location, humanitarian aid, cultural norms, racism, ethnicity, or current psycho-social research and intervention that affect the identity of refugee women. They also offer suggestions on the inclusion of gender and women's agency in theories, research methods, policies and practices (in law, mental health, education, spirituality, settlement, staffing and practices of NGO's).

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Reconceptualizing Identities
The Gender Relations of Home Security and Transversal
The Transnational Sex Trafficking
Feminist Politics
Japanese Canadian Women
Being a Writer on Women Violence and War
Creating Spaces for Agency
On the Margins
Religion Gender Identity
Taking Responsibility
Paradoxes Tensions
The Gender Factor in Refugee Determination
Notes on Contributors

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About the author (2008)

Maroussia Hajdukowski-Ahmed is Professor of French and Women's Studies at Mcmaster University. As a principal investigator of the Mcmaster Research Centre for the Promotion of Women's Health, she has conducted participatory action research projects with immigrant and refugee women, co-authored Women's Voices in Health Promotion (1999) and published essays on dialogism, qualitative research, culture and mental health, and on exilic women's narratives.

Nazilla Khanlouis an Associate Professor at the LSB Faculty of Nursing and Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto. She has conducted extensive research in community-based mental health promotion in general, and mental health promotion among youth and women in multicultural and immigrant-receiving settings in particular. She has published articles, books, reports on youth, immigrant health, and mental health promotion. She is involved in knowledge translation to the public through media (television, radio, newspapers and magazines).

Helene Moussa has had extensive experience as an educator, researcher, and administrator, as well as in policy and organizational development, networking and advocacy. Her last position before her retirement in 1998 was with the World Council of Churches, Geneva Switzerland as executive secretary for uprooted people with regional responsibilities with partners in the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific. She has published numerous books, articles and book reviews on uprooted people and women refugees in particular, as well as on development, education and social & community services and is currently working as an independent consultant on forced migration.

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