Chiara Townley

Chiara Townley

Contributor

The U.S Immigration policy is designed for both men and women, but there is a gender bias hidden behind the laws creating many barriers for immigrant women.

There is still a long path to go to reach gender equality in today’s society. Women struggle to be heard and recent data shows that the issue touches many different fields, but not many people talk about the gender gap that exists in immigration.

According to The Institute for Women’s Policy Research there is a 20% salary gap between men and women. Recent research also indicates that women only make up 20% of the tech industry and only 36% of U.S businesses are owned by women. Most of the H1B visas are granted for the science, technology, engineering and mathematics industries (STEM).

Photograph via Gabby Orcutt

It is not surprising that most of these visas go to men and recent data from the U.S. Immigration Statistics shows that only 30% of all the H1B visas are granted to women. It is not hard to imagine that things get very complicated for immigrant women if they lack a STEM background.

Expatriate women are NOT considered in the US Immigration policy. We need to raise awareness and call for a change.

The many challenges and barriers immigrant women face when building a life in the United States will be revealed in the documentary “One Foot In”.

Many expat women come to the US as spouses of H1B holders. They are allowed to stay but they cannot work, at least not until the green card process is at the second stage. The process can take up to six years. As a consequence, thousands of women have no other choice other than putting their careers on hold. Even if they want to launch their own business and create new jobs for Americans, they are not allowed to work.

The situation is not easier for female students looking for an H1B sponsor. They have to find a job within three months after graduation or leave the country. This policy also applies to men, but women have fewer chances than them.

Photograph via Steven Lewis

Foreign mothers of American children aren’t allowed to work either. They can not bring income to the household and risk deportation at all times.

The truth is that gender inequality in immigration is real and there are many stories to tell. The One Foot In documentary gives a voice to these women, raises awareness and calls for change.

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More About Chiara Townley: Chiara Townley was born in Milan, Italy in 1984. She has always had a passion for foreign languages and travel. She lived in 4 countries to date and she likes defining herself as a citizen of the world. Chiara became an author to inspire and empower. She believes that travel is a passion that can take us to different paths in life – a vehicle to open new horizons. Her motto is: “Fairy tales exist and it depends on us to make them happen.” You can learn more about Chiara at chiarabtownley.com.