Women's Labour Migration in the Context of Globalization
Women In Development Europe (WIDE)
This report from Women In Development Europe (WIDE) illustrates international migration as “a complex and often contradictory process, which provides women with opportunities for social and economic mobility, but can also subject them to new forms of exploitation, abuse and exclusion.” It discusses women’s labour migration, highlighting trends in the hiring of women migrant workers, particularly using the example of European Union countries as viewed through a global economic, social, and gender justice lens.
The report provides: a brief overview of current trends in women’s migration, a focus on globalisation as a driving force for migration - highlighting some issues relating to trade, investments, and economic liberalisation; a focus on patterns of women’s migrations; findings on the challenges faced by women migrant workers in the face of the ongoing economic crises; a focus on the situation and rights of migrant women in the European Union; a policy overview regarding normative and legal frameworks for protecting migrant women’s human and labour rights; a section on empowerment and political voice; and recommendations with regard to women’s labour migration.
Factors contributing to migration are described here: "The patterns that shape women’s migrations are manifold: while migration due to uneven economic development plays a major role, state policies, such as immigration policies in receiving countries and emigration policies of sending countries, labour market and social policies also contribute to defining patterns of migration. The level of women’s autonomy in the sending country or societal environment is an additional factor. Moreover, increase migration due to a degraded environment is expected."
Communication-related foci include the following:
- Advocacy: "So far, governments and the international community have failed to create an environment that enables women migrants to fully exercise their economic, social, political and cultural rights, protects their physical security, and enables them to fulfil their expectations and aspirations. To safeguard the human and labour rights of migrant women, the legal and normative frameworks affecting women migrants need to be strengthened, implemented more effectively and applied in a non-discriminatory manner."
- Networking and organising: "The experience of migration can thus help to challenge existing gender inequalities, including ascribed gender roles and stereotypes, and lead to positive social change. Networking and organising plays an important role in this....Grassroots and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are an important force for change regarding women migrant workers’ rights. Old and new networks are active, and building bridges between migrants and local people, with feminists and other social organisations/movements and trade unions is an important strategy. The identification of commonalities, the building of common agendas and joint campaigns help to link the different struggles....Trade unions play a central role in representing and promoting the rights of migrant women workers as well as in developing workplace strategies to combat racism, discrimination, xenophobia and sexism. A good example is the foundation of the European Migrant Workers Union. Still, the cooperation between these different actors can be further strengthened and developed. As the report shows a specific and urgent area for joint intervention is for example the area of domestic work. Last but not least, the financing of the activities of (migrant) women’s organisations is crucial for stimulating the political agency of migrant women in general."
- Increasing public awareness: "This requires encouraging the mass media and other forms of dissemination channels to contribute to awareness-raising on migration issues, including on the contribution of women migrant workers to the economy but also their vulnerability to exploitation and discrimination. It means challenging public images and discourses around migration and migrant women....Discourses which reduce people to commodities, economic factors and remittances need to be contested; xenophobic talk which furthers the discrimination and criminalisation of migrants must be exposed and ended...."
The Women's United Nations Report Program & Network (WUNRN) ListServe, October 14 2010.