The role of woman in the Portuguese Diaspora has been relatively unacknowledged throughout centuries of huge migratory movements largely dominated by male stereotypes.
Nevertheless emigration had in fact profound effects in the life of women within the family circle, in society and in the labour market, and women did strongly contribute to transform both individual immigration projects and the Portuguese communities in host societies.
Traditional Portuguese policies opposed and limited feminine emigration as women were expected to suffer "double discrimination" abroad (as foreigners and as women) but recent studies and hearings of women speaking for themselves reveal that in many cases and for a majority of them, emigration signified more rights and opportunities.
In more prosperous, modern and egalitarian societies they became aware of individual rights and of social causes and learned new ways of being wives, mothers, citizens and professional workers They were a decisive factor in the integration and in the wellbeing of the whole family and very often an obstacle to the choice of returning to the country of origin.
Inside their ethnic group, they also played an important role in the setting up of cultural organisations guarding traditions and ways of being and living collectively. But the association movement is still mostly led by men, women reacting in some cases by creating their separate associations . The major institutions of Portuguese emigration are still less egalitarian than the host society as a whole - although some more than others.
A comparative view of progress in this domain, through research, seminars and debates is a way to press for change.