Gender Inequality in Immigration Is Real

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 of women own businesses in the United States. Most of the H1B visas are granted for the science, technology, engineering and mathematics industries (STEM). It is not surprising that most of these visas go to men—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.

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 to put 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 to land a job for the reasons explained above.

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.

Immigrant women are NOT considered in the US immigration policies. We need to raise awareness and call for a change.