The Women’s Project aims to ensure that women seeking asylum in the UK are treated with fairness and with dignity, through a system which is transparent and is respectful to their needs.
The particular challenges facing women seeking asylum in the UK are too often overlooked. The legal representation, legal analysis and campaigns work provided by the Women’s Project over more than a decade aims to fill this gap.
The traditional image of a refugee is that of a lone male political activist, persecuted for his involvement in protests against the state. Women, too, can be persecuted for such political activism – but political activities can also take different forms, such as refusing to abide by restrictions on dress codes. In addition, women face forms of persecution that are particular to them, including domestic violence, rape, sexual violence, forced marriage, and female genital mutilation.
How the Women’s Project works
The Women’s Project at Asylum Aid is the only project of its kind in the UK. For more than ten years it has combined dedicated legal advice work with original research and country of origin expertise, and used the information from all these sources to inform our policy, lobbying and campaigning activities.
For women seeking asylum, or people working on their behalf, the Women’s Project provides:
- Free legal advice and representation
- One-off advice and referrals to other agencies
- Lobbying, campaigning and pushing for reform on issues that affect women seeking asylum
- Training on gender issues in the asylum system
Free resources from the Women’s Project
Asylum Aid publishes a variety of materials on women and asylum, including newsletters, research reports, policy statements. All of our publications are available in our Publications Library. A few of our more popular resources from the Women’s Project include:
- Women’s Asylum News, a free monthly bulletin to which more than a thousand asylum practitioners and advocates already subscribe
- Research reports on asylum and gender issues, including I feel like as a woman I’m not welcome (2012), Unsustainable (2011) and Relocation, Relocation (2008)
- Leaflets Are you a woman seeking asylum in the UK? for newly arrived asylum seeking women explaining Home Office asylum policy and procedures. (2007)
- Play: Written by Asylum Aid’s Policy & Research Manager Debora Singer, ‘Random Acts’ is a short play about a women seeking asylum, and dramatises many of the barriers faced by women when they apply for protection in the UK
- Audio: Home Office Gender Guidance. This audio is for newly arrived women asylum seekers, and for those who work with them. It is suited to training, and also to raising many of the issues that surround the rights of women seeking asylum.
Please note: since the production of the CD and play in 2007, effective advocacy by Asylum Aid and other has forced changes in some areas of Government policy. Childcare is now provided during asylum interviews in all regional offices except London, and the ‘gender-sensitive question’ has been added to those asked during the asylum screening interview
In 2010, the Project’s work on the Charter of the Rights of Women Seeking Asylum was highly commended by the Charity Awards