Not the Women but their Remittance Contribution is Acknowledged: Women Labour Migration and their Exclusion in Nepal
There is a considerable difference between thinking about sex differences with the dichotomous variable and integrating more complex gender analysis in migration research.This paper makes a rigorous analysis of migration from gender perspective that highlights the livelihood contribution of women labour migrants of Nepal and assesses the exploitation and exclusion they have faced during the migration process. The study is conducted in Pokhara Valley with particular focus on the women going to Gulf Countries. The findings are derived from the information collected from 80 respondents selected using the chain-snow-ball sampling. Information was collected through in-depth interviews. The social and educational networks of researchers were used to identify the respondents at first; afterwards, network of already identified respondents was also used.
The contribution of women labour migration in household economy is discussed in relation to the changes in household livelihood assets while their exploitation and exclusion were dealt through gender related constraints prevailing in labour migration. Contemporary forms of exploitation and exclusion prevailing in the societies, families and in the states of origin and destination countries are documented. This study deals exploitation and exclusion in reference to the place of origin and destination; hence the concept of ‘space’ is used as ‘social space’ or ‘the position’ the migrant women workers have gained in the place of origin and in destination although the places of origin and destination also represent geographic ‘space’.
Feminization of poverty was identified as the prime force leading women to labour migration abroad. Labour trafficking by brokers and forceful adoption of illegal or informal routes are fostering exploitation and abuse while policy constraints are causing structural inequalities and exclusion of women labour migrants. Existing exploitation and exclusion have devalued the contribution of migrant women workers in the household economy and remittance contribution to the state despite the earning of migrant women worker effectively utilized in the welfare of family and household livelihoods and remittance from migrant women worker is notably high and is ever increasing in Nepal. In the host societies, exploitation and exclusion demoralised the migrant workers’ invaluable contribution to the welfare of the families of host household. This form of exclusion can have serious implication in the ever growing demand for foreign workers in Gulf region. Furthermore, exploitation and exclusion of migrant women workers also implicate negatively in the household economy of the labour supplying households.
The migrant women also experienced psycho-social suffering during the stay abroad. Broken families, spousal break-ups, rejection from family and society on arrival are notably reported forms of exclusion. The state mechanisms demonstrates women labour migration as a matter of pride on the basis of their remittance contributions, however, migrant women have a lot of constrains and suffering and neither the households and communities nor the state is acknowledging the overall contribution of migrant women workers. Consequently, the issues of labour migration such as easy, safe and exploitation free engagement of women in foreign labor migration have not been addressed well by the migration policy of Nepal.
Key Words: Women Labour Migration, Remittance Contribution, Social Exclusion, Exploitation of Women, Social cost, Gulf Region, Pokhara, Nepal.