Indian Women migrating in search of work – some thoughts and a report

One of the most vulnerable workers are females who migrate in search of work away from their home areas.They often have a huge lack of skills and very low income gernating opportunities. Some are illiterate. COupled with exisiting social inequalities based on caste and ethnicity, it is often the poorest who leave and not seldomly they are faced with violence, sexual abuse or exploitative labour conditions. One of them, Shila from Buxar, was one of those who came back. After two years. Not really good years. She tells me that everything started when her uncle told her about an agent in Kerala, when she was 17 years old. “When I heard about it I thought it would be a good opportunity and help my family. We are very poor and being a female means to a family that they have to spend money. The information I got in advance and the situation I found were really different”, she explained. “I got no regular money, no working contract there. They told me that the agent would save the money for me and once I wanted to leave I would get it back. But I did not get anything. I have to say, I was even fortunate as I did not suffer too much violence as many other women. But I decided to come back. There is no future at all. I have no chance, not the right education, not the right social status, I won’t find any good job. I felt lost without my family. Many women who stay suffer from mental illness and many of them finish on the streets or in women shelters…”

The reasons for migration

It’s obvious. It’s the poverty that makes the women take a decision they are not prepared for. Often they are urged by the family to earn money and have no work opportunities locally. The amount of earnings is worse than announced/expected in most of the cases and the nature of the job often does not correspond to an earlier information.

Today, I found a very recent report and some statistics, published by the ILO (International labour organization) in 2015.
Who wants to find out more on it, can download the report at the ILO website.

I just think about the migrants coming here to Europe. And the role of women. There are some parallels. No doubt.
I think it is time to engage much more for these people and to offer a network and set up a community of migrated women that helps them to be respected and safe. Who is aware about such an organization and can share?

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