Photo credit: Eduardo Garcia 


The promotion and protection of women migrant workers’ rights is critical to the advancement of the human rights agenda. UN Women is committed to promoting women migrant worker’s rights and protecting them against exclusion and exploitation at all stages of migration, and is working on gender-sensitive, human-rights based solutions to improve the status of all migrant women and to ensure that migration enables equitable and inclusive growth and human development for all.

Promoting and Protecting Women Migrant Workers’ Labour and Human Rights is a three-year research, capacity building, and advocacy project funded by the European Commission. UN Women would like to express its gratitude to the European Commission for its financial support of more than EUR 1,7 million to this project.

The project engages with national and international human rights mechanisms to enhance their accountability to women migrant workers, whilst strengthening women migrant workers organizations to effectively advocate for their rights.

Working in collaboration with country offices in Mexico, Moldova and the Philippines, the project explores the vulnerabilities and risks faced by women migrant workers and their role as agents of development. In developing transnational and comparative data gathering tools, the project contributes to gender-sensitive research and policy on migration and development, with the ultimate goal of strengthening international human rights mechanisms and advancing dialogue to address the needs of migrant women.

By promoting the implementation of provisions of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) General Recommendation 26, this project advances the promotion and protection of women migrant rights as a key to sustainable and inclusive development.

On this platform you can access the project’s knowledge and research products and see how the practical recommendations we have made to the pilot countries on enhancing their national responses to women migrant workers are being implemented. Use this platform to access the tools and resources offered by the project to support efforts to mainstream gender and migration into development planning. Engage with our online discussions and follow us during global events. 


The Mexican pilot has achieved significant results in engaging experts from the Committee for the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Convention on the Rights of All Migrant Workers and their Families (CMW) in initiatives that have strengthened the capacity of civil society in holding government to account for the obligations under these Conventions. Having produced a number of knowledge products that are influencing the discourse on labour migration in Mexico, the pilot has integrated this developing knowledge into the capacity building of almost 1000 members of civil society. This knowledge has also been synthesized into infographic form that has supported the government’s ability to disseminate information on the situation of women migrant workers, in particular at the borders. Through a focused approach to partnership and collaboration, the Mexican pilot has engaged national and regional civil society organizations networks, academic institutions, United Nations agencies, and governmental institutions, continuously challenging and supporting them to include the concerns of women migrant workers in all their initiatives and actions.

Key activities:

- Key partnership with Instituto para las Mujeres en la Migracion (IMUMI);

- Liaison between government and civil society at “Conference on the situation of human rights of women migrant workers along the southern border”;

- CEDAW analysis of Mexican legislation;

- Engagement and dissemination of research and knowledge at the symposium “Feminization of Migration. Knowledge, Public Policy: Gaps and Scope” and in other strategic foras;

- Knowledge products on the situation of migrant women on the southern border of Mexico;

- National campaign to reduce xenophobia and discrimination against migrant workers (Campaign “Soy Migrante”) in collaboration with the Mexican Government.


In Moldova, the work to build the capacity of the government to develop gender-sensitive, CEDAW based migration and labour policies has been received favorably, with representatives from the government pursuing changes to policy and legislation on this basis. In a context marked by an absence of women migrant organizations, the project has reached out to the Moldovan diaspora, as well as organizations from the other pilot countries, to build momentum towards establishing such organizations within Moldova, an initiative that has attracted support from the Government. By developing knowledge products and pursuing a public advocacy campaign on the value and contributions of women migrant workers, the Moldova pilot is elevating the discourse on women migrant workers with the effect of increasing their rights, dignity and recognition. 

Key activities:

- Established strategic partnership and cooperation with key line ministries (e.g. Ministry of Labour, Social Protection and Family) and Governmental structures (e.g Bureau for Diaspora Relations), as well as civil society (e.g Sociopolis);  

- The inclusion of public services and information available for migrants in the public services guide;

- Capacity development for local service providers on provision of gender sensitive migration services;

- Package of proposed amendments to align laws on labour, migration and trafficking with CEDAW;

- Knowledge products on the situation of Moldovan women migrant workers and Policy Briefs;

- National public awareness campaign addressing stereotypes, issues and concerns facing  women migrants at all stages of migration, see here;

- Women migrants developed a statement of intent on addressing key re-integration issues through entrepreneurship opportunities that was submitted to be embedded in the strategic documents of action of key line ministries, building their ability to engage in national and international human rights mechanisms.  


Despite the fact that the Philippines has a long history of sending women migrant workers overseas, little emphasis has been placed on gender-sensitive migration policies and practices. The project has responded by developing strategic and practical recommendations for legislative and policy development, in collaboration with active government partners, with the objective of increasing CEDAW compliance.  Building on an established platform of knowledge on the developmental impacts of migration, the project has been able to interrogate migrant remittances and asset building from a gender perspective. This illustrated the multiple contributions of women migrant workers to the Philippines’ economy and overall development, including areas for the empowerment of women migrant workers. The Philippines pilot has been the first to model a truly sustainable approach to capacity development on gender, migration and development, modelling a context-specific training of trainers approach. Capacity building efforts targeted key government migration agencies with subsequent plans to institutionalize this through the development of an online course and inclusion in the six-year plan (2016-2022) of those government migration agencies.

Key activities:

- The new Philippines Bill on Overseas Workers’ Welfare enhanced to CEDAW compliant status as a direct benefit of the project’s CEDAW analysis training and consultations;

- CEDAW based review of migration and anti-trafficking laws with input from government and civil society stakeholders;

- “How to” guidance note on formulating and implementing gender-responsive migration and anti-trafficking laws;

- Key knowledge products including Situational Analysis and Policy Brief on Gender-Sensitive Remittances and Asset Building;

- Partnering with the Commission on Filipinos Overseas on strategic approaches to mainstreaming migration and gender into the development agenda;

- Piloting Gender on the Move training with local authorities.

The Promoting and Protecting Women Migrant Workers’ Labour and Human Rights project is funded by the European Union. The content of this page is the sole responsibility of UN Women and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.

For more information on the European Union, please visit their web portal.