Community Update

Digital Empowerment Toolkit Now Available!

At World Pulse, we recognize the need for ongoing learning—for you and for your community! Our toolkits aim to provide the resources you need to advance your social change work.

We are excited to introduce our Digital Empowerment Trainers’ Toolkit, a dynamic resource to help you bring the benefits of connecting online to women in your community. Check it out today! »

Equalizing Education, Balancing the Status: Transnational Girls' Access to Education.

“Globalization's narrative for migrants is simply a permanent state of impermanence, through the policy of circular migration.”—Ninotchka Rosca, from Change the Narrative: Transnational as a Noun

As a child of immigrants born and raised in the suburbs of Vancouver, I teetered, like many second generation Filipino-Canadians, between the “home” my parents left behind and the Canadian “home” I could never comfortably claim. It wasn’t because I find Maple syrup too sweet, snow too cold and hockey too far removed from my immediate interests, but because I didn’t look or “act” Canadian despite being fluent in both official languages and having lived in rainy Vancouver my entire life. My bloodline, simply out, didn’t sink deep enough into the Canadian bedrock.

Despite the alienating reality of having been labelled as the “other”, my journey of wanting to belong lead me to an international community of similar nomads eager to root and create a force-to-be-reckoned with identity that extends beyond ethnic backgrounds and mixed tongues. Being neither here nor there, hailing from the Northern Lights to the steamy planes of New Mexico, “Transnational Women”—the community I choose to identify with—are abound with histories of migration and bursting with energy to create homes with firm roots and a strong foundation, constructing unbreakable structures that can weather hail, sleet, and stalwart winds.

Of course, building a home without tools and material is a difficult task, as is trying to create a concrete existence within the narrow parameters of constant flux and fare. “Transnationals”, a community devastated by economic catastrophes, forced to toil in a migratory No Man’s Land, living on shaky temporary work permits and expired visas, are the challenges Transnational women—young and old—must confront in terms of accessing education. The “permanent state of impermanence”, as Feminist author Ninotchka Rosca puts forward, further displaces women in a seesaw status of hand-to-mouth existence.

The impact of economic and status instability is calamitous, both for the individual and for Transnational communities world-wide; and in our money-driven economies, status is everything. Moreover, in our money-driven economies, status is tied to the accessibility of education, and ultimately, the political participation and economic welfare of women and children. That the majority Transnational communities are women; that women are expected to be both breadwinners and caretakers; yet women earn far less than their male counter-parts and are the first to be denied post-secondary education—let alone completing elementary and secondary education in severe cases—it is not too hard to see that the equation does not balance, the numbers don’t add up.

Akin to the combustible and chaotic states of chemistry, so is the struggle for women accessing education to the highest degree. But like the aims of all its laws, chemistry, with its variable negative and positive energies, is always trying to balance itself out, always striving for a state of equilibrium, despite reactions and the external pressures to create solutions that do not adhere to its specific needs and circumstances. This is certainly the case for Transnational communities laden with migrant workers, immigrants and their families who are striving to make changes where access to education and resources is equal to and with everyone; where the status of wealth and health is balanced, no matter how varied the people, no matter the degree of citizenship.

The calls for education for Transnational women are political, cultural and economic expressions. For Filipino Transnational communities, the act of influencing governments to change immigrant laws and to make education an achievable goal is wrestled in the political arena. In the interim rounds of the blood sport that is politics, Filipino Transnational communities are changing the cultural landscape from individual exertion to collective undertakings by way of grassroots workshops and leadership training. By implementing community-based workshops on topics such as employment rights and feminist theory, Filipino Transnational communities, from the East Coast towers of the Toronto Metropolis to the multicultural populace of Los Angeles, the shift from permanent nomads to grounded, uncompromising leaders is a cultural revolution. The schooling of Transnational women is an economic enterprise not only for the independence of women, but for the advancement and overall well-being of society as a whole; one simply cannot do without the other.

You know, like chemistry.

This story was written for World Pulse’s Girls Transform the World Digital Action Campaign.

World Pulse believes that women's stories, recommendations, and collective rising leadership can—and will—bring girls greater access to education which will transform their lives, their families, and communities. The Girls Transform Campaign elicits insightful content from young women on the ground, strengthens their confidence as women, and ensures that influencers and powerful institutions hear their stories.
Learn more »

Comments

Jumi's picture

You sound so familiar, Charlene

Charlene, your story is the story of millions of women all over the world who are migrants and immigrants alike. Thanks so much for representing our voices. You've done well. We will keep working to effect the change we need.

adeakins's picture

Simply Eloquent

My gosh - your piece is so incredibly inspiring. This was my favorite part:

"That the majority Transnational communities are women; that women are expected to be both breadwinners and caretakers; yet women earn far less than their male counter-parts and are the first to be denied post-secondary education—let alone completing elementary and secondary education in severe cases—it is not too hard to see that the equation does not balance, the numbers don’t add up."

Your ideas, writing, and delivery are brilliant. Keep up the amazing work!

-Aaron

Tait's picture

Connecting

Charlene,

I enjoyed reading about the political arena that has been keeping girls from accessing education and how people have come together to provide creative solutions.

Tait

estelle's picture

Hi Charlene, just learnt a

Hi Charlene, just learnt a lot abt women in transnational communities. thanks for sharing

Magazine »

Read global coverage through women's eyes

Inside Congo's Growing Sisterhood

Inside Congo's Growing Sisterhood

Community »

Connect with women on the ground worldwide

PAKISTAN: They Went to School and Never Came Back

PAKISTAN: They Went to School and Never Came Back

Campaigns »

Be heard at influential forums

WWW: Women Weave the Web

WWW: Women Weave the Web

Programs »

Help us train women citizen journalists

World Pulse Voices of Our Future

World Pulse Voices of Our Future

Blog »

Read the latest from World Pulse headquarters

Announcing Our Prize Winners!

Announcing Our Prize Winners!

Partners »

Join forces with our wide network of partners

Nobel Women's Initiative

Nobel Women's Initiative