Denmark: Immigrant women want to work

Denmark: Immigrant women want to work

Thousands of stay-at-home women of immigrant background want to go out to work - and most have their husband's support, according to a new study for the Hvidovre and Copenhagen municipalities and the Center for Social Economy.

The women don't get money from employers or from the municipality.  Therefore they aren't actively looked after by the municipality, because they don't get any form of welfare support of government payments (transfer payments).

According to the study, in the capital Region alone there are about 14,000 New-Danish women in employment age and most of them are interested in working.

Mayor of Employment and Integration in Copenhagen, Jakob Hougaard, says that the municipality are working on a series of projects which would make it easier for immigrant women to go out to work.

"It surprises me that there are so many, who really want to work.  We have a group of 14,000 women in the region who are in fact invisible, because the municipality isn't in contact with the women and there don't get welfare support.  It's really positive that they have the wish to come out and do something," he says.

The women in the study said in particular that they are interested in working in the service sectors and health and care sectors.

This reverberates with the mayor, who in the coming years will find many new workers in exactly those fields.

The manager of the Center for Social Economy, Lars René Petersen, thinks that immigrant women have good opportunities to earn money for their abilities.

"Many of them are experts in running a home.  They know everything about preparing food, household, and how a home to keep a home lives together.  These are good abilities, that many places require.  There's a constant lack of good cleaning people, and there's a demand for new, effective ways to make food.  And we have to this extent use for people, who can take care of the elderly, also ethnic elderly," says Lars René Petersen.

Dansk Industri is also happy about the positive signals from the immigrant women.

"Regardless of the current situation we have right now, there's use for hands on the work-market, also from this group.  But if somebody hasn't been on the Danish job-market before, isn't educated and just barely finished a Danish course, they'll probably need a helping hand, before the integration into the job-market can succeed," says Director of Labor Market Affairs Mette Rose Skaksen.

One of the women who wants to work is 23 year old Fahima Jama.  She comes from Somalia but has lived in Denmark since she was 10, and in the summer finished her HF degree (which allows her to continue to higher education).

Since then she has looked for work, but currently without success.

"I've looked for 80 jobs now.  Every morning and evening I go to or  I looked for a job as a child minder, teacher's helper and cleaning jobs, but either they don't answer me or they write that they've gotten 137 applications and it's not going to be me," she says.

Often it's the veil on her head that intimidates employers, thinks Fahima Jama.

Source: Politiken (Danish)

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