Book Review: “Undefeated” by Professional Migrant Women (@pmwcommunity @EasternRegional)

Undefeated: 90 migrant women, 118 journeys (November 2022, Professional Migrant Women)

Undefeated, published by Professional Migrant Women (PMW), is a collection of 118 stories from 90 migrant women who overcame the challenges and barriers of living and working in Australia.

Launched in October 2022, the book is dedicated to “all the women who are forces of nature, forging their own path through the thicket”.

As ours is a migrant nation, everyone – apart from Australia’s First Peoples – is either a descendent of migrants or a migrant themselves.

Therefore, although Undefeated is a celebration of the journey and the power of migrant women, it can be seen as a reminder of the invaluable contributions that all past and present migrants have made to multicultural Australia.

Each of the stories collected in this book opens a window to a migrant’s inner world, offering a rare glimpse to their decision and determination to build a new life in a foreign land, the difficulties and disasters they endured, the doubts and disappointments they felt, the opportunities and triumphs they encountered, and the support and guidance they received.

These are stories of self-discovery, of finding the strengths and confidence that one never knew one has, to confront the unknown and unpredictable. The voices here are raw, authentic and strong, overwhelmingly conveying a sense of resilience and adaptability.

As observed by Fabiola Campbell, founder of PMW: “Migrant women have felt invisible for a long time, and the time has come for them to step up and be seen and heard. As many other women in our society are stepping up to demand equality and claim their space, we, too, raise our voices, because we have things to say. All we need is a space to speak up and be heard.”

Established in 2019, PMW is an organisation aiming to reduce the gap between migration and professional employment for women and to maximise the potential and contribution of migrant women through meaningful employment.

To achieve this goal, PMW focuses on “increasing visibility, representation and recognition of the value of diverse women in Australia”. Its mentoring programs help women of over 50 countries, languages and cultures from all over the world “develop employability skills, build competencies, and rebuild the confidence one needs to take on the Australian job market”.

Particularly compelling are these words from PMW: “We offer a platform for migrant women to have opportunities for social participation, career progression, and access to leadership development. We strongly believe that increasing women’s participation leads to benefits for individuals, families, and the community.”

As globalisation continues to impact our corner of the world, migration today is often a choice, with calculated and unimaginable risks and consequences, as well as perceived and unforeseen responsibilities and obligations.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, many authors in this book identify themselves as “communicators” and “change advocates” who are passionate about equality, representation, inclusion, education and environment. Having experienced the unbearable pain of uprooting and the fruitful satisfaction of having new roots planted, these migrant women are now ready to utilise their insights to connect and contribute,

Note: This book review was originally published under the title “Undefeated: against all odds” by Ranges Trader Star Mail, May 23, 2023, P.13. You can also find it on The Star Mail website.

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