Women Seeking Asylum: An untapped resource

Women Seeking Asylum (WSA) in Australia are a severely untapped resource for the country's socioeconomic growth. Previous research conducted by The Future of Work Lab has proven that if given the opportunity and supported equitably, the bounds by which WSA may flourish in the workforce are infinite.

Identified as promising leaders in the future of work, this project determines the potential in their contributions to establish equity and sustainability in the workforce. As such, The Future of Work Lab seeks to develop and publish resources to assist WSA in gaining and retaining employment in the Victorian workforce to ensure that these determinations become a reality.

This project is in the process of developing a directory of support services that women seeking asylum may utilise in their search for/to better retain employment. Such services will aim to target mental and physical health, education, community resources, child support, cultural support and legal aid; and will be categorised according to different inner city suburbs and levels of affordability. This directory will present itself in the form of leaflets distributed amongst community hubs, and a website that will include access to an interactive map-interface, so that these services can be easily located and identified in relation/proximity to one's home/place of work/school district.

As per the findings of a report published by the Lab last year, when considering the challenges WSA face in gaining and retaining employment one must account for the intersectional facets of their lives. Women Seeking Asylum hold more than the identity of ‘woman’ and ‘asylum seeker’; they are wives, mothers, sisters and daughters – and also equally: breadwinners, carers, community leaders, and skilled workers. This project seeks to encompass these factors and create a holistic, feasible and sustainable solution that can be implemented throughout Victoria in the near future.

Email: mira.gunawansa@unimelb.edu.au