Swedish ministers, the former US Ambassador and representatives of organisations promoting gender equality and refugee integration met in Stockholm in October 2016 to discuss the role of refugee women in their host country.

How can refugee women be empowered? What challenges might they face? These were just two of the questions tackled by the panel.

Participants in the roundtable discussion at the Swedish Institute on 20 October 2016 included Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström and other Swedish ministers, and the former US Ambassador to Sweden, Azita Raji. They were joined by women leaders from the business world and civil society organisations, such as Refugees Welcome, Incluso, Sodexo, Mitt Liv and LinkedIn, all of which work in different ways to promote integration.

Reforms needed
Participants discussed reforms, the need to combat violence against women and the need for women to be engaged in technical solutions to facilitate their own entry into Swedish society – from housing during the asylum process to networking and training tools, and facilitating social integration.

Ms Wallström highlighted the importance of recognising and highlighting women’s participation in society, while Ms Raji pointed to Sweden’s global reputation for gender equality and its generosity in accepting high numbers of refugees.

Ms Wallström emphasised the benefits that migration brings – both to individuals and to host countries. She added that women’s contributions were often not fully recognised. “The world would become a better place if women shared power,” she said.

Read the full article in The Local: How can refugee women make their mark in Sweden?