Women, Migration and
Development:a view
Filomenita Mongaya Høgsholm
Bucharest, Romania
3-5 June 2010
The Migration Phenomen
• Nothing new under the sun! Human history
is about people incessant moving in their
search for better conditions: water, food,
shelter and other necessities for living.
• Or just to avoid conflict and repression.
• Lately also to overcome environmental
and natural catastrophes: desertification,
volcanoes, etc.
Globalisation and migration
• Movements of populations become hectic at
times under the globalisation we are now
experiencing due to demands of the market.
• Demografic deficit – more ageing populations
but fewer to take care of them esp.in Europe
• Populations esp. In Global South in general
have better access to communications,
transport, IT technology, all conducive to
crossing borders.
Facts on Global Migration
• Currently there are over 200 millions of
humankind who are outside their countries
of origin. 2010 statistics: 104 million of
these are women.
• Circa 86 millions are in the labour market
with approx. 50% women, but for some
regions women make up a higher
percentage (Franck & Spehar,pp 11-12)
Gender & Migration:Europe
• In the 70’s men mostly left in order to work
abroad for higher salaries; Later joined by
their families whose wives stayed home:
Moroccans, Pakistanis, Turks
• Few groups-Filipinos in north Europestarted with both men and women who
came for labour migration
Women on the Move
• In the 80’s women began to seek jobs abroad
because of poverty un- and underemployment.
• Economic liberalisation impacts on women’s
place in agriculture, industry, EPZs.
• Others travel out of curiosity and a hidden wish
to remain abroad(Filipinas with carefree attitude:
Bahala na- God wil take care- go undocumented
Vulnerability when women migrate
1) Domestics/Househelp, agricultural workers
and also health professionals from Asia,
Africa, Latin Americas...but no monitoring of
this area.
2) In east and central Europe women are
recruited for mythical jobs in the West only to
end up trafficked for sex and slavery.
3) Women have no rights, are violated and suffer
violence and sanctions, their legal
documents,eg. passports are divested from
them or be confiscated.
Women and migration
• Women migrate because they want to improve
conditions for their families, they try to find work
or study to learn new skills, resulting in
economic power in the family. Some flee from
repressive regimes or patterns in their families.
• Women immigrants should have security in ALL
PHASES of the migration process. Their human
as well as labour rights should be secured.
Gender&Migration intersect
• As more women, esp. in the North and
West are joining the labour force and able
to have better standards of living and have
careers, it is expedient to re-establish the
system of using female migrant labour
from Asia, Africa, Latin America; lately
from Europe itself: the new EU. But this is
hush hush and even shame, shame esp.
In Nordic countries who feel guilty about
househelp and nannies. This is changing.
AU PAIRS In Danmark Dejligst
• Problematic areas:
1) Au pairs considered as cheap labour instead of
being on Equal Footing with the Host Family
2) Lack of cultural knowledge and background
between the au pair and the host family.
3) Sexuality codex very different from each other
so unwanted pregnancies and abortions.
4) Danes love private lives and their privacy while
young Filipinas hunger for fun in the company
of friends.! Isolation
5) Their legal situation does not allow for redress
Globalisation’s WinWin?
Agency among South’s Youth today. They are
cyberchildren who master the computer and do
not have global boundaries at the same time
that EU is putting up Fortress Europe!
Migration as strategy in the hope that the West will
come to recognize their diplomas and bring
them to the ”right shelf” when it comes to
educational qualifications.
Current usage of Au Pairs: as cheap labour; this
fits in perfectly with the EU’s neoliberalism but
no adequate protection and misuse of their
potential. Plus their human rights are at risk.
Remittances: M&D enigma
• Short term: Remittances like migration are
non neutral women are not passive.
Independent even from patriarchal
societies like Morocco or Mexico.
• When men send remittances to wives, no
change in gender roles and for women
who migrate, not automatic…
Enigma, contd.
• Long-term: remittances may have intergenerational effects, eg. increased educational
participation of younger women.
• Women exercise selective assimilation by
reconstructing gender relations within the family.
• Philippines ranks nr,6 globally in closing the
gender gap accdg. To World Eco Forum so safe
to conclude that Filipinas have a way with
remittances: INSTRAW study of Fils. In Italy.
2-tiered Perspectives on Agency
 RIGHTS:Creating a Task Force to work
exclusively on the rights/human rights of the au
pairs,eg. Babaylan working with labour unions
and other NGOs has had some effect, if slow.
Ideally, migrant workers should come under the
protection of labour unions.
 Alliance with media or self organization for
balanced reporting and true representation of
facts.Lobbying with legislators – eg. Hearing.
 DEVELOPMENT: Engaging Diasporas in
Projects that promote livelihood, Links with
women and dev NGOs here in North
Women to women
Gender equality
Equal opportunity
Dialogue & Solidarity
Respect for our diversity
Network and communication incld. Media
Strategy/Public diplomacy –eg. Cultural
activity in local and national fora
Shopping List? Migration Bag
• Migration must be temporary = Circular
• Governments take more care of citizens
eg. establ. Special Agency on Migration
and Development
• Govt. must facilitate the translation of
remittances into real development so
migration is by choice not coercion.
More win-win scenarios
• Circular migration of women can be better utilized globally by
opening up jobmarkets in destination countries for the trained and
the competent. Europe will face a labour shortage…
• Transnationalism. Global measures must be taken to secure women
their equitable rights both in home country and host society. That
they can BE themselves and INCLUDED as CITIZENS.
• Brain drain = care gain? OR Brain Gain = Global Development ?
Global Migration Group
• Recognition of Migrants contribution to
economic gains and human development
in the context of current crisis
• As legal channels decrease protect
access to mobility, break down barriers
during crisis,
Migrants are otherwise vulnerable to
discrimination, exploitation and
• www.babaylan.dk
• www.babaylan-europe.org
• www.filomenitamongaya.com