“Speak out!”– What the people want
On 27 April 2009, The MiRA Centre launched their voting campaign “Speak out!”. As an important part of this campaign, members of the community and relevant Norwegian politicians participated in a forum, held at The MiRA Centre, to discuss issues and concerns related to women with minority backgrounds in Norway. The highlights of the discussion and the opinions of the various political parties were then distributed to minority women in order to enable them to make informed decisions on Election Day. The themes discussed at the forum included security of rights for minority women, violence against women, equality and access to public services.

Guarantee of legal rights for minority women
Immigrant women, who come to Norway through family reunion, can only apply for independent work and residence permit after three years. If their relationship with their spouse breaks up due to any reason, the women are threatened to be deported from Norway. The “three-year rule” has had serious consequences for many minority women, especially for those women who have been the victims of family violence. This rule prevents a woman from gaining an independent status, and in many cases makes it so that the woman is completely dependent on her husband. As a consequence, many women remain in violent and destructive marriages for fear of being expelled from Norway. The MiRA Centre has been struggling with the politicians to change this rule in favor of women for many decades now. Join us in our struggle to strengthen the legal rights of women with minority background in Norway.

Real Equality
The MiRA Centre works for real equality where rights to participate in the public arena and have opinions heard and respected, are central. Minority women meet multiple forms of discrimination and are treated differently because of their backgrounds, gender, ethnicity, culture and religion. Combating oppressive social structures, cultures and traditions, for example forced marriage and genital mutilation, is the primary goal of the fight for equality. An equality-focused policy must reflect the power imbalance between the majority society and the minorities, as well as it must include gender, race and class perspectives.

Public services
The MiRA Centre strongly believes that public services should be equally accessible for all people living in Norway. A simple but effective way of doing so includes information in different languages, providing easily accessible translation services in public health offices, social offices and in the police and judiciary systems.  Language assistance services must also be provided to parents in daycares and schools.