The Dream of a Migrant Woman

Text and photos by Elaha Sahel

In this photo story, I delve into the world of a migrant woman who harbours dreams of political and social presence in Europe, despite being an immigrant herself. Somaya Ramish is an Afghan woman currently pursuing a doctoral degree. She was actively involved in the political and social circles of Herat, Afghanistan, and even ran as a parliamentary candidate in the past elections. Now residing in the Netherlands, she has expressed her desire to become a member of the European Parliament in the future.

Due to the challenges of the immigration system, Somaya faces a long road ahead, from mastering the language to obtaining citizenship, joining political parties, lobbying, and ultimately securing a seat in the European Parliament. Achieving this dream in the complex European immigration system has proved to be extremely difficult for her. Nonetheless, with determination, time and support from her community, she hopes to achieve her dream one day.

That being said, she is not the only migrant woman in Europe with such dreams and aspirations. Many other women with migrant background share the ambition to become politically active at local, national as well as, European level. If conditions and socio-cultural and economic barriers for the participation of migrant women in various fields, including political, became even slightly easier, we would see a change in the political landscape of Europe.

This would bring a positive change to everyone in Europe; it would decrease the social polarisation currently seen in many EU states, where “migrants” are being confronted with “natives” in the agendas of many political parties and candidates. It would benefit not only women, as political representation of women remains low, but also those at the bottom of our societies who are the most invisible and marginalised.

The upcoming European Union elections present a pivotal opportunity for addressing the issues Somaya and many others face. By electing representatives who are committed to reforming immigration policies, enhancing integration measures, and advocating for the rights of migrants, voters have the power to influence the European agenda towards a more inclusive and diverse political landscape. Such elected officials could play a critical role in dismantling the barriers that migrant women, like Somaya, encounter in their journey towards political participation. The elections serve as a platform for voters to express their desire for a Europe that values diversity and equality, ensuring that the voices of migrants and women are heard and represented in the European Parliament.

Germany will hold European Parliament’s election on Sunday 9th of June. Everyone with the German citizenship (and other EU citizens living in Germany) will be able to take part in this important democratic event that will shape the work of the European Parliament in the next five years. Use your democratic right to vote if you have it, to choose a better future of Europe. If you cannot vote, you can remind those in your community who can, that this is an important moment we should not miss.

And remember; whether you can vote or not, there are many ways to be politically active. After all, this is what democracy is about.