Female Immigrants’ Health and Working Conditions in Sweden

By Sharareh Akhavan.

Published by The Diversity Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Sweden is one of the European countries that has successively changed from a mainly ethnically homogeneous society into a multi-ethnic society. In 2001, almost 20 per cent of the Swedish population was classified as immigrants, i.e., they were either born abroad and naturalized, of foreign nationality or born in Sweden with at least one parent who had been born abroad. Reports, statistics and research have shown that the health of female immigrants is worse than that of the total population and that the incidence of long-term sickness absence and early retirement is higher in this group. The overall aim of this article is to describe, understand and analyze factors that contribute to poor health among female immigrants in Sweden from the perspective of class, gender and ethnicity.
Being unemployed, on sick leave or working in occupation with low income and low status are examples that are related to class position, gender and ethnicity. The main three aspects based on class are wage, professional status and female immigrants position in the hierarchical work organisation. Other factors are discrimination due to ethnicity and gender, unfavourable physical and psychosocial work environment and absence of opportunities for skills upgrade training.
Experiences of rape, domestic violence, unanswered emotional and sexual needs and patriarchal culture are examples that are related to gender. And experiencing traumatic events (in pre-migration periods such as experiences of war, prison, etc. and in post-migration periods such as experiences of discrimination and racism) are examples that are related to ethnicity.

Keywords: Female Immigrants, Class, Gender, Ethnicity

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp.275-286. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 699.583KB).

Dr. Sharareh Akhavan

Researcher, Department of Research and Development, The University of Skövde & Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Stockholm, Sweden

Dr. Sharareh Akhavan is borned in Iran and live in Sweden since 1986. She has studied Biomedical Science and Public Health at Karolinska Institute and wrote her PhD. thesis on “The health and working conditions of female immigrants in Sweden”. She has worked in different projects with diversity and integration. She is teaching at the university of Skövde and working on several research projects related to health, gender and ethnicity.

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