Migration and Gender Empowerment

Recent Trends and Emerging Issues

2009 Occasional Paper
By Ghosh, Jayati

Women are increasingly significant as national and international migrants, and it is now evident
that the complex relationship between migration and human development operates in genderdifferentiated
ways. However, because migration policy has typically been gender-blind, an
explicit gender perspective is necessary. This paper attempts this, beginning with an examination
of recent trends in women’s migration, internationally and within nations. It then considers the
implications of the socio-economic context of the sending location for women migrants. The
process of migration, and how that can be gender-differentiated, is discussed with particular
reference to the various types of female migration that are common: marriage migration, family
migration, forced migration, migration for work. These can be further disaggregated into legal
and irregular migration, all of which affect and the issues and problems of women migrants in
the process of migration and in the destination country. The manifold and complex gendered
effects of migration are discussed with reference to varied experiences. Women migrants’
relations with the sending households and the issues relevant for returning migrants are also
considered. The final section provides some recommendations for public policy for migration
through a gender lens.