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A Woman but also an immigrant : A qualitative study about Middle Eastern and North African women's work experiences in the Swedish healthcare sector

  • Mohamad, Nour
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2021
DiVA - Academic Archive On-line
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This intersectional study focused on Middle Eastern and North African women's experiences working within the Swedish health care sector. Consequently, the study focused on three main aspects; motivation, difficulties, and opportunities. The study was based on individual semi-structured in-depth interviews with six women who work in different positions and different parts of Sweden. Material from previous research and theoretical starting points relates to intersectionality, ethnicity, and gender were also used. The study found that foreign-born women are experiencing, on the one hand, the pressure of the original culture that still emphasizes gender-stereotypical segregation and, on the other hand, the Swedish society, where they suffer from stereotypical and discriminatory views. Women's original culture impacts their work choice by emphasizing their feminine characteristics, which link them to the healthcare sector. It also affects the family's labor division and the women's ability and freedom to work and develop in their careers. The stereotypical and inferior view of the foreign-born woman is responsible for exposing them to racist and biased attitudes, creating in-groups and out-groups, and pushing them to work more to prove their worth. In addition, the results indicate that the Swedish authorities also have stereotypical perceptions of foreign-born women and that female-dominated occupations like the healthcare sector are the most favorable occupations for these women. Regarding opportunities, the interviewees reinterpreted the difficulties as opportunities as part of seeing the glass as half full and showing their gratitude for living in Sweden and having opportunities that may not be possible to get in their country of origin.

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