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City of Reykjavik to Improve Assistance for Foreign Women

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City of Reykjavik to Improve Assistance for Foreign Women

October 24, 2016.

Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

The City of Reykjavík has put forth plans to improve service for female immigrants, asylum seekers and refugees, Kjarninn reports. The city plans to spearhead a special educational initiative, as well as ensuring the Department of Welfare in Reykjavík city provides assistance to parents from another country, and specifically to assist immigrants seeking employment in the country.

"We intend to develop the service of specific cultural mediators, whose role is to establish a connection between Icelandic society and foreign women by strengthening understanding and tolerance between different cultures. We also intend to find ways to ensure Icelandic training in the workplace.", Regína Ásvaldsdóttir, head of the Department of Welfare in Reykjavík commented.

This was revealed today as Regína answered a query from independent news outlet Kjarninn. The query followed in the wake of the #metoo reports by foreign women, which told cruel accounts of sexual harassment that foreign women were facing in Iceland. The women explained how they face systematic problems and are unable to escape the conditions which they face. Among the shortcomings is the lack of opportunities to study Icelandic, as well as a complete lack of a support network in place. A lack of available information is another shortcoming of the system and the fact that employers often treat these foreign women as second-class citizens.

According to Regína there is a need to translate all task proceedings regarding harassment and violence in the workplace. "The Human Rights Office of Reykjavik has published a lot of material which is delivered to immigrants, who are the clientele of the Department of Welfare. Domestic violence, as well communication with children, is covered there, among other subjects."

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