Feminisation of migration: 37% women crossing borders autonomously for jobs, says ILO

Geneva: A growing number of women are crossing borders in their autonomous capacity and looking for jobs, making 37 percent of more than 150 million migrant workers in the world, a new study by the International Labour Organisation said on Wednesday.

The 150.3 million migrant workers account for 72.7 percent of the 232 million migrants globally. Of them, 8.8 million women are among the 11.5 million migrant domestic workers. Among migrant workers, 83.7 million (55 percent) are men and 55.7 million (37 percent) women, International Labour Organisation (ILO) Global Estimates on Migrant Workers showed.

Though labour migration is a phenomenon affecting all regions of the world, an overwhelmingly 74.7 percent or 112.3 million people are in high income countries, 17.5 million in upper-middle income countries, 16.9 million or 11.33 percent in lower-middle income countries including India.

Another recent ILO report shows that the top five destination countries in 2012 for migrant stock outflow from India were Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Oman, the US and Qatar.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

India received 47.1 percent of its remittances in 2012 from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. India and China are the largest recipients of officially recorded remittances in the world and together receive more remittances than the next six countries combined. India received 70 billion in the form of remittances in 2013.

This is the first time that such kind of data, based on estimates from 2013, has been put on a global and regional basis with a new methodology that has been developed.

"These are data that certainly underestimate the actually numbers involved. The other major finding is the feminisation of migration. You have growing numbers of women who are crossing borders in their autonomous capacity and looking for jobs," Director of the ILO Conditions of Work and Equality Department Manuela Tomei said.

Migrants, especially migrant women, have higher labour force participation rates than non-migrants. There are 67.1 million domestic workers in the world of whom 11.5 million are international migrants, according to the ILO estimates.

In 2013, almost every sixth domestic worker in the world was an international migrant. About 73.4 percent of all domestic workers are women of which South Eastern Asia and Pacific hold the largest share (24 percent) followed by Northern, Southern and Western Europe (22.2 percent) followed by Arab states (19.0 percent).

"That's a big concentration and it also sends up flags as to where we need to do more in terms of protection in policy," Mitchell Leighton, chief of the Labour Migration branch at ILO, said.

The Arab states, however, hold 50.8 percent of all male migrant worker.

"These (domestic workers and migrant domestic workers) are a group of workers that are particularly exposed and vulnerable to labour exploitation and to severe abuses. This is very much due to the fact, also, (that) in many countries domestic work is not regarded as work," Tomei added.

"These are invisible workers so the first thing to do in order to reduce vulnerability to exploitation is indeed recognising that these are workers... it is also very much connected to raising awareness not only about what discriminatory behaviour is and how it manifests itself but also valuing their work," Tomei told PTI.

Also, the report shows that bulk of migrant workers are concentrated in certain economic sectors with 106.8 million out of the 150.3 million engaged in services sector which may range from insurance to personal services, followed by manufacturing and construction and agriculture.


Updated Date: Dec 17, 2015 08:19 AM

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