Read the selection from the IOM publication ‘Supporting Brighter Futures: Young women and girls and labour migration in South-East Asia and the Pacific’ and then answer the questions
Historically, we know from decades of studies, data collection and analysis that there has been a strong bias toward the migration of young, working age-people who “self-select”’ (i.e. choose) to migrate internationally in order to realize opportunities in other countries. Outside of displacement settings, and especially for irregular migration, empirical findings also show that young men have tended to undertake the more uncertain or riskier forms of migration. However, there is also growing recognition of incremental shifts in migration patterns and processes, with increasing numbers of young women and adolescent girls undertaking migration independently (as opposed to being part of a family unit), including via irregular migration and smuggling routes. Social changes and greater empowerment of women and girls, including through greater access to information and resources via ICT, mean that the labour migration of young women and girls is a current issue that we must increasingly grapple with. Policies and practices designed to severely reduce (if not eradicate) unsafe, disorderly and irregular migration that places these migrants at risk of harm, is especially relevant to young women and girls, who may face greater risk of exploitation and abuse. Given the evident trends before us – related to social change and societal/gender expectations, transnational connectivity and international migration – the migration of young women and girls is also a strategic one. In the future, more households across the region (South-East Asia and the Pacific) will be reliant on remittances sent home by young women and adolescent girls. In this sense, the topic of this research is anything but fringe. The migration of young women and girls will become more of a priority for policymakers and practitioners safeguarding our collective prosperity in the region through optimizing the benefits that international migration can bring.
How is migration changing?
Migration has evolved significantly over recent years, both in terms of numbers of people migrating and their demographic characteristics. Of the 258 million international migrants in 2017, 48.4 per cent were women and girls.
Women are increasingly migrating to work in specific sectors, and in some countries the majority of emigrants are female, including from Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand. Data from the International Labour Organization, for example, show that women represented almost three-quarters of all migrant domestic workers and just over 80 per cent of migrant domestic workers in high income level countries (see graphic below).
In addition, we are seeing increasing numbers of children migrating around the world, including as migrant workers, asylum seekers and in order to pursue educational opportunities. These changes are apparent at the global level, and are also reflected regionally. In mid-2017, for example, female migrants below the age of 19 in South-East Asia accounted for almost 8 per cent of all international migrants, and around 16 per cent of all female migrants. Likewise in the Pacific, just over 9 per cent of all international migrants were females under 19, accounting for around 20 per cent of the female migrant population. While migration presents new opportunities, it can also raise challenges for young women and girls who have themselves migrated or who have been left behind by their migrant-worker parents, especially as they are likely to experience greater vulnerability and face heightened risks because of their gender and age. At the same time, young women and adolescent girls’ agency must be given due consideration and further examined, including the broader impacts of their migration. While research on the impact of migration related to young women and adolescent girls exists, there remains the need to draw upon this and other current evidence to effectively inform policy and programme responses in the field of labour migration, including labour rights and protection, transnational family dynamics and the impact of gendered migration on countries and communities of origin, transit and destination.
What demographic of migrants has typically undertaken the more ‘risky’ or ‘uncertain’ kind types of migration? Is there evidence this is changing? Explain?
Migrant domestic workers are much more likely to be female. They are also much more likely to have migrated to rich countries. Can you offer some possible explanations on why?
According to the selection, what labour sector features large numbers of female migrants? In what type of countries (by income level) do many of these migrants work?
Read this section again:
While migration presents new opportunities, it can also raise challenges for young women and girls who have themselves migrated or who have been left behind by their migrant-worker parents, especially as they are likely to experience greater vulnerability and face heightened risks because of their gender and age. At the same time, young women and adolescent girls’ agency must be given due consideration and further examined, including the broader impacts of their migration.
The text mentions that both opportunities and challenges exist for young women and girls who migrate. Think about what some of the opportunities might be and explain them in a short paragraph.