The joys and struggles of migrant women

woman sitting on bench

A new report considered how vocational education and training had helped achieve ‘social inclusion’ for skilled migrant families.

The hardships of finding work for recently migrated women in the Shepparton region is to come under the microscope in a new research project.

Researchers from Monash University are currently interviewing migrant women (and their partners) to gain their perspectives on what it is like to be a migrant woman in regional Victoria today.

Lead researcher Professor Sue Webb from the Faculty of Education said the project aims to uncover the experiences of women who have migrated in recent years, whether they arrived as primary applicants or as partners, in their quest to find work or undertake further study.

“Although governments encourage skilled migrants to settle in places like Shepparton, there has been little research into the employment outcomes for skilled migrant women, particularly those who enter Australia as partners of skilled migrants,” Professor Webb said.

“This research is important because we know little about what jobs the women get, or any difficulties they have encountered in gaining employment at the relevant skill level.”

The project also aims to shed light on the aspirations of women who arrived in Australia with education or qualifications from their own country, and are now settling in the Shepparton area.

“Without this knowledge about how programs to encourage regional migration are working for all family members, and what services and networks are being accessed, the skills many migrants have may remain underused,” Professor Webb said.

To better understand the struggles of migrant women in a new city, the researchers have spoken to a range of organisations and people including representatives from employers, community groups, government agencies and education and training providers to gain local perspectives about what is being done and what they would like to see.

“This is an important way to discover if migrant women are socially included in regional communities and if they are not, where the gaps may be,” Professor Webb said.

“If migrants feel disappointed and undervalued there is a risk to longer term growth plans for regions because these skilled people might relocate to where the opportunities are better.”

The project is funded through a grant from the National Centre for Vocational Educational Research, which advises government on vocational education and training.

If you are interested in sharing your story with the ‘Skilled migrant women in regional Australia, VET and social inclusion’ project contact Dr Denise Beale at or on +61 3 9905 2884. Anonymity is ensured for all participants.