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Dear IMRC, Affiliates, Associates, and Friends,

On March 8th, the global community celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women and reflects on the progress yet to be made in moving towards gender equality. We would like to honour this occasion by highlighting the significance of migrant women and their development potential, and by sharing some of the gender-focused work of the IMRC.

Women constitute almost half of the 247 million people who live and work outside their countries of birth, ranging from 52% in the global North to 43% in the global South. Contrary to popular discourse, which has painted women as passive actors who either migrate alongside their families or stay behind in the country of origin, there has been an increasing feminization of migration, driven in part by the lack of decent work for women in countries of origin, and the increase in the demand for labour, particularly that which subsidizes care deficits in destination countries.

While women migrants face gender-specific vulnerabilities, like discrimination, violence, health risks and exploitation at various stages of migration, they are increasingly being recognized for their potential to contribute to development. For instance, it is reported that by sending a higher proportion of their often lower wages, migrant women are responsible for half of the World Bank’s estimated $582 Billion in global remittances.

Through ongoing research and collaboration with international organizations and partners, IMRC affiliates and associates are working on a number of projects and initiatives focused on gender and migration.

Within the last year, the IMRC participated at the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) in the Third Thematic meeting— “Recognizing the contributions of women migrants to economic and social development in countries of origin and destination and addressing their specific needs”, particularly concerning respect for their human rights. (Read the Director’s Closing Remarks here).

The IMRC collaborates with UN women on the “Promoting and Protecting Women Migrant Workers’ Rights and Human Rights” project which aims to strengthen international human rights mechanisms by including a gender focus.

Stay tuned for more forthcoming material on our work with UN Women at also to be made available on

Many of our Associates and Affiliates currently are conducting research which examine gendered dimensions of migration including one of the emerging researchers at the IMRC, Dr. Bree Akesson, who focuses on the experiences of pregnant refugee women from Syria.

IMRC Student Affiliate and Vanier Graduate Scholarship recipient, Bharati Sethi,  draws on her personal experiences to study the linkages between employment and mental health in terms of immigrant women.

The topics of other ongoing projects led by IMRC associates and students include highly skilled migration (led by Dr. Margaret Walton-Roberts), internationally educated nurses, care work, migrant worker health and immigrant women and mental health.

Best wishes,



The first annual Dr. Kerry Preibisch Global Social Justice and Migration Lecture 

Dear Affiliates, Associates, and Friends,

We are pleased to announce the first lecture of the annual Dr. Kerry Preibisch Global Social Justice and Migration Lecture Series organized by the International Migration Research Centre.

Dr. Kerry Preibisch was a prolific scholar in the area of social justice and migration, who died of cancer in January, 2016, at the height of her career. The intention of this annual memorial lecture will be to add to the myriad ways that scholars and students can keep her research and vision of promoting migrants’ human rights alive into the future. Invited speakers must bring a global social justice perspective to their lecture pertaining to migration, and are encouraged to engage directly with Kerry’s work.

Our first lecturer will be Dr. Janet McLaughlin, an Assistant Professor of Health Studies and a Research Associate with the International Migration Research Centre at Wilfrid Laurier University. For over a decade her research, community work and scholarship have focused on health and human rights issues facing migrant workers, primarily from Jamaica and Mexico, who labour in Canadian agriculture. Dr. McLaughlin is also co-founder of the Migrant Workers Health Project, which aims to raise awareness and improve health care access for migrant workers across the country. 

This year’s lecture will be taking place on March 31st; further details on time, location, and registration for this event will be made available on social media and email in the coming week. We encourage all to attend.


Update: Dr. Kerry Preibisch

A short piece about Dr. Kerry Preibisch was recently published in the Guelph Mercury. It is written by colleague, and IMRC Associate, Dr. Janet McLaughlin. Please follow the link to read the article:

In addition, there has been a graduate scholarship created in Kerry’s honour at the University of Guelph with her friends and family. This scholarship will be awarded to a graduate student in any department at the University whose research involves fieldwork and will have a demonstrated benefit to the migrant worker community in Canada, and especially women. Read here for more details:


Honouring Dr. Kerry Preibisch


Dear IMRC Affiliates, colleagues and friends,

It is with a heavy heart that we say goodbye to a dear friend and esteemed Guelph professor, Dr. Kerry Preibisch. After a brave battle with cancer, Kerry passed away the morning of January 28.

We want to honour the memory and legacy of Kerry Preibisch, a feminist sociologist and an internationally recognized scholar. Throughout her successful career, Kerry contributed actively to vast areas of research, such as: gender, migration, and rural livelihoods; temporary migration programs, migrant rights, and development; migration and social change, as well as ethical food production. This work was published in countless distinguished scholarly journals, and shared with colleagues and students. During her life, Kerry tried to transform the world through her research and outreach by engaging with migrant communities and working diligently to shape migration policies through engagement with national and international actors. Her work in these areas awarded her the César E. Chávez Black Eagle Award in migrant rights. She has shaped knowledge, influenced policy  and directly contributed to the social movement in Canada aimed at improving the rights of migrant workers. She was an exceptional mentor, engaging collaborative scholar, and a wonderful friend.

We are all lucky to have known her – her heart, her ideas and her strength.

We will notify our network of any upcoming initiatives aimed at continuing Kerry’s legacy.


Jenna Hennebry

Director, IMRC