Women and Migration India

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Women and Migration
India
Indrani Mazumdar
Centre for Women’s Development Studies (CWDS)
New Delhi
•
The most recent macro-survey of migration in India (National Sample Survey [NSS],
2007-08), estimated that some 327.7 million people in the country were internal
migrants.
•
80 per cent of them were female, and migrants accounted for nearly 29 per cent of
the country’s population.
•
Defined as those who have changed their usual place of residence any time in the
past (UPR), migrants encompassed 48 per cent of the country’s rural female
population and 46 per cent of urban females.
•
A decade and a half before - in 1993, the rates of female migration were much
less, at 40 per cent of the rural and 38 per cent of urban female populations.
•
In contrast migrants in the rural male population of India declined from 6 per cent
to 5 per cent between 1993 and 2007-08, and increased by only 2 per cent from
24 per cent to 26 per cent in urban India
•
The data shows that the striking increases in female migration rates have however
been driven by marriage migration and not employment
Percentage of migrants in female and male populations by select
reasons for migration (Rural India) [NSS]
1993
1999-2000
2007-08
40.1
42.6
Total Female migrants
6.5
6.9
5.4
Total Male migrants
24.7
Female marriage migrants
Male marriage migrants
Female associational migrants
Male associational migrants
Female employment migrants
Male employment migrants
0.2
0.77
0.55
2.7
2.1
1.4
1.8
1.2
3.3
0.4
0.3
3.1
2.1
1.5
9.5
37.8
43.5
47.7
Percentage of migrants in female and male populations by select
reasons for migration (Urban India) [NSS]
1993
1999-2000
2007-08
38.2
Total Female migrants
23.9
25.7
25.9
Total Male migrants
12.1
Female marriage migrants
Male marriage migrants
0.2
0.4
0.4
Female associational migrants
12.9
13.4
6.8
6.9
6
Male associational migrants
Female employment migrants
Male employment migrants
24.5
27.7
1.9
1.3
1.2
9.9
13.3
14.4
18.9
41.8
45.6
Trends in Female Work Participation Rates
(Usual Status)
340
Rural Principal + Subsidiary status
Rural Principal status
Urban Principal+Subsidiary Status
Urban Principal Status
323
328
327
299
248
245
261
234
151
152
155
120
118
121
1983
1987-88
289
1993-94
231
242
216
202
166
139
117
1999-2000
135
2004-05
138
118
2007-08
138
119
2009-10
Estimated Numbers of Labour Migrants in sectors/industries (2007-08) [NSS]
Industry
Agriculture,
Hunting,
Forestry, Fishing
Paid/Income
earning Migrant
workers excluding
migrants for
marriage (UPR)
[000s]
Male
Female
Short term Migrants
Total labour Migrants
Female
Share of
Total
[000s]
[000s]
[%]
Male
Female
Male
Female
6,430
(14.53)
2,399
(31.74)
2,449
(19.32)
922
(43.47)
8,879
(15.60)
3,321
(34.31)
27.22
4,257
(9.62)
402
(5.32)
5,289
(41.73)
700
(33.00)
9,546
(16.77)
1,102
(11.39)
10.35
Mining,
Manufacturing,
Electricity
Trade, hotels,
restaurants
11,258
(25.44)
1,575
(20.84)
2,412
(19.03)
306
(14.43)
13,670
(24.01)
1,881
(19.44)
12.09
8,027
(18.14)
474
(6.27)
1,190
(9.39)
32
(1.51)
9,217
(16.19)
506
(5.23)
5.20
All services
other than trade,
hotels,
restaurants*
Total
14,280
(32.27)
2,698
(35.70)
1,338
(10.56)
161
(7.59)
15,618
(27.44)
2,859
(29.54)
15.47
44,252
(100.00)
7,556
(100.00)
12,675
(100.00)
2,121
(100.00)
56,927
(100.00)
9,677
(100.00)
14.53
Construction
Locations of CWDS Survey Sites
• A little over half of the women migrant workers (rural and urban
combined) identified poverty, debt, decline in income, lack of local
employment or loss of such employment as their reason for
migration.
• The majority however bore their migration costs out of household
savings/borrowings
• Women migrated more with family members while men migrated
more alone.
• Nevertheless, it is significant that close to a quarter of the women
(23%) reported having migrated alone and 7% in all female groups.
• Further, while 25% of the rural and 6% of the urban women
migrants were dependent/mobilized by contractors, 81% of the
urban and 63% of the rural women migrants said they migrated
independently - whether with families or alone.
Manner of Migration [CWDS Survey]
43.25
Gone with only family members
17.96
24.33
18.34
Gone in mixed male and female group
22.58
Gone alone
42.69
Female
Gone in all female group
Gone in all male group
Others
Male
6.89
0.00
0.00
19.10
1.92
1.04
0.00 5.00 10.00 15.00 20.00 25.00 30.00 35.00 40.00 45.00 50.00
Mode of last Migration by Women Migrant Workers
[CWDS Survey]
Urban
Rural
80.68
Independent
63.14
Mobilised by local
contractor/agent/employer
3.69
Mobilised by outside
contractor/agent/employer
2.77
Associational with or to join labour migrant
15.55
9.08
12.86
12.23
• Four occupations, namely agricultural labour, paid domestic work,
construction , and brick making dominate and together accounted for
more than 60 per cent of all the migrant women workers.
• These are the principal sectors/segments of concentrated demand driving
women’s labour migration in the contemporary period.
• In other employment segments of female concentration such as
education, apparently the demand is being met more by non-migrants.
• It is indeed striking that the principal drivers of work based migration for
women all involve hard and tedious manual labour and are essentially
casual in nature.
• Significantly, circulatory and seasonal patterns of migration are defining
features of at least three of these four sector/segments of demand.
•
In rural areas, agriculture is the most prominent destination for rural women migrants.
•
However, it also appears that the conditions in local agriculture, pushes a section of the
agricultural workforce to migrate for non-agricultural employment in rural areas.
Occupational shifts through migration by women concentrating in circular migration for
brick-making
•
•
Brick workers who constituted 8.7% in the pre-migration profile of individual women
migrants with rural destinations increased to 21.1% post migration, while agriculture,
including seasonal agricultural labourers, plantation workers and cultivating peasants, which
accounted for 33.4% of rural female migrant workers after migration, had a larger share of
the pre-migration profile of these rural migrants (48.3%).
•
Nevertheless, agriculture has seen increases in demand for female migrants in some areas
for crops such as BT cotton and BT cotton seed production and one of the most concentrated
form of female labour migration in rural areas is for sugarcane cutting in western and
southern India (but not in the sugarcane belt of UP in the north).
•
Migration for sugarcane cutting is of a more longstanding nature and has been well
documented in several studies for Maharashtra and Gujarat. Less well known is the operation
of similar migration for sugarcane in Karnataka and Tamilnadu.
•
Adolescent girls’ migration for BT cotton seed farms in Gujarat from the tribal communities in
the Dungarpur/Udaipur regions of Rajasthan and of child migration for cotton seed
production in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Gujarat has been documented by several
studies. In addition, our own field work showed women migrating from Godhra and Dahod
to the Saurashtra region of Gujarat for BT cotton farms as well as from Rajasthan to parts of
Punjab.
Occupation pattern of Female workers before migration
(Rural) [%]
[CWDS survey]
Agricultural workers-seasonal
33.58
Cultivating peasants
11.34
Only cooking, cleaning, care activities for immediate family
9.01
Bhatta workers (brick making)
8.72
Unemployed (seeking work)
6.10
Petty contractor based construction workers
5.67
Tobacco products/beedi workers
3.13
Other farm workers
1.82
Agricultural workers - full time
1.53
Others
19.11
0.00
5.00
10.00
15.00
20.00
25.00
30.00
Occupation pattern of female workers after migration
(Rural) [%]
[CWDS survey]
Agricultural workers-seasonal
25.67
Bhatta workers (brick making)
21.11
Construction -Petty contractor based
8.24
Plantation workers
5.36
Paid domestic workers (live out)
3.89
Textile spinning workers
3.62
Construction - Company/large contractor based
3.15
Independent (individual or family based) construction/painti
2.95
Care activities supporting family
2.55
Cultivating peasants
2.35
Others
21.11
0.00
5.00
10.00
15.00
20.00
25.00
30.00
35.00
40.00
•
•
•
•
•
•
The two concentrated streams of rural female migration, i.e., for cane cutting and brick
manufacture both involve circular migration and onsite work/residence for a major part of
the year.
The laboring units in brick-making and cane cutting (where female labour is involved) largely
comprises of male female pairs (jodis) or family units and generally a cycle of advances and
debt-based tying of such labour. Jodi based wage labour combined with piece rated
payment, leaves no scope for independent work/activity and income for women. Women’s
individual entitlements in such forms of labour have not even been conceptually recognized
in the labour law regime.
42% of the rural women migrant workers were involved in such pair, family or adhoc group
based employment.
The nature of annual circulation in both the above segments of migrant labour, its
predominantly debt bonded nature (through advances), the degraded and harsh conditions
of work, the disruption of children’s education and the semi-feudal and patriarchal jodi
system – all predicate that while survival may be ensured by such a form of migration,
possibilities of social advance are simultaneously limited.
Brick-making, although no longer artisanal in nature, is distributed across unorganized
manufactories with mainly unincorporated individual or partnership based
owners/employers.
On the other hand, Jodi based cane cutters (called koytas) are, recruited not by the individual
farmers on whose fields they labour, but by modern organized sector sugar mills, often
having corporate style management systems. Yet, typically in both segments, workers
continue to be recruited through a variety of unregulated labour contractors.
•
In urban areas, close to one third of the migrant women workers (31%) were either
unemployed or engaged in only family domestic duties before migration (in comparison to
15% of rural women migrants)
•
They were able to enter employment through urban wards migration. Only a small
proportion of the urban women migrants had a pre-migration background in agricultural
work (13%) and many were in service sector or other diverse jobs even before migration
(20% were in paid domestic work and 30% in diversified services before migration).
•
The relatively high proportions of both the non-employed and those in service sector
employment before migration correlates with the majority of the urban migrant workers
being from upper caste and OBC backgrounds (together 54%) in contrast to the rural
migrants, where women from SC and ST backgrounds were the majority (together 62%).
Women’s urban-wards labour migration is hardly a primary force leading the shift of women
workers out of agriculture.
•
Some diversification and expansion of occupations was nonetheless visible among urban
migrants. Post migration occupations such as sales workers, beauticians, hair dressers, call
centre workers were mostly absent in the pre-migration profiles of these urban women
workers.
•
However, the process of concentration in paid domestic work (whose proportions almost
trebled from around 10% before migration to 28% post migration) was the most gender
distinctive feature of urban wards labour migration by women.
Occupation pattern of female migrant workers before migration
(Urban) [%]
[CWDS survey]
Unemployed (seeking work)
18.0
Only cooking/cleaning/ care for family
12.8
Paid domestic workers (live out)
7.3
Cultivating peasants
5.5
Agricultural workers-seasonal
4.7
Petty contractor based construction workers
4.3
Construction company and large contractor…
Tailoring/stitching workers
3.7
3.2
Paid domestic workers in households(live-in)
2.7
Agricultural workers - full time
2.7
Nursing in hospitals/establishments/institutes
2.6
Vendors/ petty trader
2.6
Independent (individual or family based)…
Food/beverage processing/manufacturing workers
1.7
1.5
Others
26.71
0.00
5.00
10.00
15.00
20.00
25.00
30.00
Occupation pattern of female migrant workers after migration
(Urban) [%]
[CWDS survey]
Paid domestic workers (live out)
20.79
Construction-Independent/petty contractor
9.67
Paid domestic workers in households(live-in)
6.19
Vendors/ petty trader
5.98
Construction - Company/large contractor
5.49
Textile spinning and weaving workers
4.59
Nursing in hospitals/establishments/institutes
4.24
Sales workers
4.17
Tailoring/stitching workers
4.10
Professional, technical and related…
3.89
Call centre employees
3.69
Other production workers
3.41
Beauticians, hairdressers and other related…
Teachers in private schools
2.78
1.95
Others
19.05
0.00
5.00
10.00
15.00
20.00
25.00
2009-10
GDP
Distribution of
(at constant Paid/Income Earning
prices – base workers
2004-05)
Male
Distribution of
Standard Workforce
(Paid+unpaid)
Female
Male
Female
Agriculture (%)
15
42
58
47
69
Industry (%)
27
26
22
24
16
Services (%)
58
32
20
29
15
82.2
331.7
(million) (million)
127.4
(million)
Number of Workers
293.1
(million)
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