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Discussion

Migration as a Challenge to the Sustainability of Nordic Gender Equality Policies as Highlighted through the Lived Experiences of Eritrean Mothers Living in Denmark

Department of Social Sciences, University of Eastern Finland, 70211 Kuopio, Finland
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Sustainability 2020, 12(23), 10072; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122310072
Received: 30 September 2020 / Revised: 17 November 2020 / Accepted: 19 November 2020 / Published: 2 December 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Families and Child Welfare)
This study focused on the complex process of adjustment and adaptation experienced by refugee parents from Eritrea who have settled in Aalborg, Denmark. Migration is a challenge to the sustainability of Nordic gender equality policies, in the face of cultural differences between refugees and host countries. This narrative study undertaken in the Eritrean community in Aalborg, Denmark took place against the background of cultural differences between the refugees and their host country, and Nordic gender equality policies. The study was done through the lens of parenting, to provide Eritrean refugee parents in Aalborg with the opportunity to share their lived experiences of settling in Denmark. The overarching aim of this study was to explore with Eritrean parents how they raise their children in a new country, as well as identifying both the challenges they face and the strengths which they bring to that role through their narratives. It aims to improve the understanding of what is significant to these parents during the process of their adaptation to a new environment. The role of refugees is well-established in their country of origin, but exposure to the Nordic Welfare Model which embraces women as being equal to men, is often problematic for Eritrean female refugees. Increasing cross-cultural knowledge in Denmark, through becoming aware of the lived experiences of the refugees as parents is important, particularly for those involved in social services that engage with this community. The study focused on the nature of challenges faced by Eritrean mothers experienced whilst integrating into Danish society. A semi-structured approach was used to obtain and analyze the data that was collected through interpersonal, qualitative methods in a narrative paradigm. The methodology was informed by initial focus groups meetings. Face-to-face engagement with the parents, utilizing an Eritrean interpreter as an integral part of the research team, was used. This study has highlighted the importance of engaging directly with refugee communities within their existing structures with a willingness to understand their culture. This approach may sit outside traditional research settings and service provision norms, but it informs more targeted, culturally appropriate, and acceptable interventions, which will assist the refugee community to effectively integrate into Danish society. The questions raised indicate an urgent need to recognize the cultural differences between refugees and host countries, and for this purpose to obtain more in-depth studies addressing this poorly examined area. View Full-Text
Keywords: gender equality policy; Danish Welfare State; Eritrean women refugees; culture and parenting roles; explorative gender equality policy; Danish Welfare State; Eritrean women refugees; culture and parenting roles; explorative
MDPI and ACS Style

Joubert, N.; Anand, J.C.; Mäki-Opas, T. Migration as a Challenge to the Sustainability of Nordic Gender Equality Policies as Highlighted through the Lived Experiences of Eritrean Mothers Living in Denmark. Sustainability 2020, 12, 10072. https://doi.org/10.3390/su122310072

AMA Style

Joubert N, Anand JC, Mäki-Opas T. Migration as a Challenge to the Sustainability of Nordic Gender Equality Policies as Highlighted through the Lived Experiences of Eritrean Mothers Living in Denmark. Sustainability. 2020; 12(23):10072. https://doi.org/10.3390/su122310072

Chicago/Turabian Style

Joubert, Natalie, Janet C. Anand, and Tomi Mäki-Opas. 2020. "Migration as a Challenge to the Sustainability of Nordic Gender Equality Policies as Highlighted through the Lived Experiences of Eritrean Mothers Living in Denmark" Sustainability 12, no. 23: 10072. https://doi.org/10.3390/su122310072

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