Gender and Economic Policy Discussion Forum XII:

Gender and Economic Policy Discussion Forum XII:

Gender and Migration – Implications on Gender and Equity

ISST Background Note

Migration studies have primarily explored economic reasons while analyzing male migration and social reasons when it comes to female migration. Women have been seen as migrating primarily for reasons pertaining to marriage. Studies suggest, however, that this trend is changing.

It has been noted that the number of women migrating for employment is on the rise. While poverty may be one of the reasons for this increase in number, other reasons may also include a growing demand for women’s labour as well as loosening social norms allowing women greater mobility (Kaur: 2006).Moving away from the village is seen as freeing women from the constraints of the binding social structure. Paid employment is not an avenue available to all women in villages. Hence, migration is no longer seen as solely being an option for men as women are migrating in response to both social and economic imperatives.

However, despite the increase in female migration especially for economic reasons, there remains a gap in addressing gender specific migration experiences. Such a gendered perspective is essential since women have different motivations, patterns, options and challenges while migrating as compared to men.  

Furthermore, the impact on gender relations as a result of migration is complex. There are increasing instances of single women migrating alone while other instances of single women or widows accompanying other family workers who are migrating (Srivastava: 2011).

The forum will focus on these concerns while concentrating on rural to urban female migration in India encompassing seasonal, circular as well as long-term migration and the implications it has on issues of gender and equity.