Educational Experiences of Immigrant Women of Racial Minority Gronps in the Nova Scotian Post-Secondary Contexts

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Al- Khasawneh, Nisreen
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Mount Saint Vincent University
My research study is an inquiry about a group of immigrant women’s experiences within the Nova Scotian education system. I interviewed immigrant women from Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. The data collection stages of the research involved conducting semi-structured interviews with five immigrant women from racial minority groups. My thesis research is concerned with highlighting the experiences and challenges facing immigrant women of racial minority groups within the Nova Scotian academic system as they progress through their postsecondary educational journey. The women I interviewed do not have English as their first language; they ail immigrated to Canada within the past five years, and they all currently enrolled in university. My research begins by focusing on the literature that discusses the state of gender equity, particularly in the education system. I discuss the literature that highlights the barriers that are specific to women in general, and I relate this exploration to the experiences of women from racial minority groups. I also concentrate on the problems confronting immigrant women from racial minority groups who are enrolled in a postsecondary educational institution. Where I was able, I drew connections between my participants’ experiences in education and the similar problems facing women from various other minority groups which I found in the literature. In addition to the interviews with the research participants, I also drew on my personal experiences as an immigrant woman to discuss related issues. The critical backdrop of my thesis is feminist theory “[f]eminism is a belief that women and men are inherently of equal worth. Because most societies privilege men as a group, social movements are necessary to achieve equality between women and men, with the understanding that gender always intersects with other social hierarchies” (Freedman, 2002, p.7). My study also examines life events and the difficulties faced by women of racial minority groups who immigrated to Canada. For many immigrants attempting to resettle in a foreign country often involve certain challenges such as language acquisition, learning a foreign curriculum and educational strategies, resettlement processes, and culture shock. (Leslau, Krausz & Nussbaum, 1995). At the same time, adult education is concerned with social change and empowerment of learners and is therefore critical for immigrant adult learners. Part of empowering immigrants means encouraging their involvement in educational programs, since some of the formal and non-formal educational programs and sites are often act as places for immigrant students to learn not only the theoretical frameworks of a subject, but also to gain valuable information about many aspects concerning their new country. It is highly important to research some of these immigrants’ feelings and needs. My findings reinforce the importance that adult educators deal with minorities in the classrooms in a way that includes them in the teaching and learning environment.
Immigrant women’s experiences , Feminist Theory , Racial Minority Groups , Nova Scotian Education System