Finnish Refugee Council has awarded the Integration Act of 2021 recognition to the International Working Women of Finland (IWWOF) in the virtual Kotogaala webinar on 27th of October 2021. IWWOF promotes the employment, integration, and empowerment of migrant women with the aim to improve the demand and supply of labor.
IWWOF originated from a Facebook group founded in August 2019 to bring together women from different backgrounds and experiences. Founded by migrant and Finnish women together, the community provides training and workshops to develop skills needed in working life, recruitment opportunities, and empowerment activities. The IWWOF has so far operated mostly on a voluntary basis and has already reached over 6,000 women via social media.
The board of Finnish Refugee Council and the selection jury of different professionals’ reasons the selection of the IWWOF as the recipient of the Integration Act of the Year by the promotion of genuine interaction between population groups and strengthening the inclusion and capacity of migrant women.
– The community is clearly born from the need that other services have not been able to meet. IWWOF strengthens civil society and inclusion by bringing the voice of migrant women to the forefront and giving them a platform to make a difference, says Annu Lehtinen, Executive Director of Finnish Refugee Council.
The selection of the winner also emphasizes active interaction between employers and social actors. One of the key objectives of IWWOF is precisely to promote diversity and inclusion of international professionals in the workplace and society. Another important reason was that the community of IWWOF actively seeks to ensure inclusion and building of a safe space, as well as the participation of under-represented groups.
– 45 % of foreign-born women in Finland are unemployed, yet the country needs highly skilled workers. Also, Finnish returnees and women in general face discrimination in the labor market. We want to ensure that everyone in Finland is empowered to succeed both personally and professionally and that those who will come in the next years have a strong community like IWWOF to help them navigate the Finnish system and society. Who would be better to help than those of us who have walked the path already and our amazing network of Finnish allies? says Caroline Bondier, Chairwoman of the Board, IWWOF.
In the future, IWWOF will continue to support women in the labor market and highlight the potential of international talents in Finland. The community hopes to find allies and business donors so they can further develop the activities and concrete measures in the future.
– Women who have moved to Finland are a group that is often excluded from society. It is therefore important that work to promote the inclusion and support of this group is done and strengthened now and in the future. I would like to warmly congratulate the IWWOF community on its achievements and recognition, says Minister of Labor Tuula Haatainen, who is the patron of the Integration Act of 2021 recognition.
Suomen Pakolaisapu ry
Katja Mannerström, Head of Public Affairs
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International Working Women of Finland
In Finnish: Halla Hänninen
In English: Caroline Bondier
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