New book on lives of Immigrant Women in Atlantic Canada
By Nour Awad
After seven years of hard work, the book is finally available for sale.
“It’s a dream come true,” said Dr. Evangelia Tastsoglou. “I’m hoping that some of the findings can be used by the government or service providers so things can be done to improve the lives of immigrant women in Atlantic Canada and increase the ethno-cultural diversity to make it a more hospitable place to live in.”
Dr. Tastsoglou is a Professor and the Chair of the Department of Sociology and Criminology at Saint Mary’s University.
On March 7, with the sponsorship of Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women and Gender/Immigrant Woman Domain of the Atlantic Metropolis Centre of Excellence, and in honor of International Women’s Day, Pier 21 hosted two panels to discuss Dr. Tastsoglou’s recent publication Immigrant Women in Atlantic Canada: Challenges, Negotiations and Re-Constructions. The book was co-edited with Peruvemba S. Jaya.
The new title, which is “the first of its kind,” aims to “map out and present a more comprehensive picture of the immigrant women experience, and to try to identify gaps in terms of policy and services and possibly come up with recommendations on how to improve the plight of immigrant women and immigrant families,” said Dr. Tastsoglou.
The book is a collection of essays and findings from research studies initiated by the Gender/Immigrant Woman Domain of the Atlantic Metropolis Centre of Excellence. Each chapter of the book is a different study from a different author, some of who were students of Dr. Tastsoglou.
Each panel had four authors that discussed their contribution to the book at this forum. Dr. Tastsoglou opened up the first panel and set the stage for what was to follow. She gave a background on Canada’s immigration policy, then discussed the immigrant and ethnic landscapes of Atlantic Canada, and the migration process and finally, concluded her presentation highlighting major recent findings from across Canada so the audience could “compare and contrast” with the findings being presented in each panel.
Each of the eight presentations had a different perspective to offer on immigrant women in Atlantic Canada. Some presenters discussed the meaning of “social inclusion” to immigrant women, while another focused their study on Nova Scotia high schools and yet another discussed the intersection of class, ethnicity and gender of Turkish professional immigrant women settling in Halifax and Toronto.
It’s difficult to come up with one generalized experience shared by all immigrant women in Atlantic Canada, as various markers such as ethnicity, education, and class influence each experience.
However, Dr. Tastsoglou said a major finding in her recent work is that “due to the relatively higher degree of ethnic homogeneity of Atlantic Canada in comparison to Ontario, Quebec and other parts of Canada, I find that there is a greater pressure on not just women but immigrants, in general, to conform.”
The book project started in 2005 and was funded by a grant from the Atlantic Metropolis Centre of Excellence.