Just before Christmas we have visited the Parliament situated in the Christiansborg Palace. A member of the Parliament, Fatma Oktem, invited our organization to the excursion around the Parliament and a discussion of problems which are of great importance for women from ethnical minorities.
It was a pleasure to meet such an enthusiastic and strong woman who can inspire other people. Fatma told us about her own way into the politics. It was very interesting, because her example can be important for us. From our point of view, it’s becoming a big problem for the Danish society that many Danish politicians come to the Parliament from the particular political circles and groups. The usual way for the new Danish politicians starts in the youth organizations, gymnasium’s councils etc. and leads straight to the Parliament. You can actually call them as “political elite”: those, who are so far away from the ordinary life. Maybe that’s why Fatma’s example is a big inspiration for us: she has come to the politics as an adult and she doesn’t have a big political background behind her. She knows people’s needs from her own experience, but not from the mass media or researches. May be that’s why it was very easy for us to talk to her about the big consequences foreign women face because of nowadays rules of receiving a residence permit.
Foreigner’s law treats family reunited women as the potential cheaters. Foreign women, who immigrate to Denmark to get married to a man who turns out to be violent, have a risk to face a dilemma: to be exposed to violence or to be sent out of the country.
These rules influence also the situation with the job for foreigners. It’s proved that the best way to receive a job and show ones skills is to work with a subsidized wage. But foreigners are afraid to get this kind of wage because the subsidized wage is a kind of help from the state, which could prevent them from receiving a permanent residence permit in the future.
At the meeting with Fatma we also asked questions concerning women who immigrated to Denmark in an old age. We have such members in our organization and we want to help them. They have learnt Danish very well, but they’ve never had an opportunity to work because of their age. This means that according to the rules they will never receive a permanent residence permit, though, as a rule, they are married and have very good economical situation in their families. If a family supplies itself and doesn’t demand anything from the society, there should be a possibility in a civilized and developed country to let its own citizens’ spouses and other foreigners with the legal permit to receive a permanent residence permit after certain number of years staying in Denmark. It could give more safety against being sent out of the country in the case of divorce, death etc.
We have encouraged Fatma, as the equality spokeswoman in the biggest party, to struggle for the change of nowadays rules so it could be easier for example for family reunited women to go away from the violent husband.
As the organization which consists of women with different ethnical background we struggle a lot for getting more politicians with an ethnic minority background. We think that the Danish society could get profit, if the Parliament and municipal councils could reflect people living in Denmark better.
The most important at the meeting was, what we heard from Fatma: “We, women, can when we want!”
On the 28th of August the organization called “World’s Women in Denmark” invited Nilgun Suner and Trine Henriksen from the party named “Enhedslisten” to tell about their party, its values and aims.
Nilgun began the meeting with her personal memories about how she came to Denmark, when she was four years old, and how she was brought up here. She saw examples of a slighting and humiliating attitude towards immigrants from Turkey, many of them received an inferiority complex as a result. It was very important for Nilgun’s parents to give their children a good education and a better life. At that time there were many communists among the Turkish immigrants who came to Denmark. Nilgun’s mother brought her and her sister to the women’s movement in the communist party, so they could learn more about their rights.
It was quite natural for Nilgun to become a member of the party, “Enhedslisten”, where she could see herself, that all members of the party were equal. According to Nilgun, “Enhedslisten” means that inequality is unjust. And that has become the main point in her struggle for equality in the society.
Another representative from “Enhedslisten”, Trine Henriksen, is a member of the Town Council in Gladsaxe where she takes an active part in the projects connected with the environment and trade unions’ work. She thinks that nowadays the most important problem is that the unemployed are considered to be a second-class people. Trine explained that “Enhedslisten” struggles for the society where there is a place for everyone and all people are equal.
After “Enhedslisten” representatives’ opening speeches a lively discussion started. Some of the questions were devoted to the ability of “Enhedslisten” to solve some particular problems connected with the immigrants in Denmark. There was also discussed the question whether there is a place for everyone in the party, because one of the demands to its members is to be able to lead the discussions on a high professional level.
The struggle for the equality in the society concerns all people, not only politicians. Nilgun underlined that there would be more progress in this struggle if everyone led his own the struggle every day.
The meeting went very positively and enthusiastically, rounding up our project “Women-immigrants who will vote”. The organization “World’s Women in Denmark” has made this project to help the women who immigrated to Denmark to learn more about the political parties which exist in the country and the political life in Copenhagen.