Daily Archives: Friday, April 19, 2013

The feminisation of migration: Are more women migrating? | Debating Development

The feminisation of migration: Are more women migrating?

Posted on April 19, 2013

By Dr Maria Villares-VarelaMariaVillares

The idea that there has been a shift in migration gender ratios causing a feminisation of migration flows that has characterised a new period of migration, has been widely proclaimed by scholars over the past two decades. I would argue that what has actually occurred has been a feminisation of the scientific interest in the issue of gender and migration, more than a feminisation of migration flows. The absence of women within historic migration data is more due to the invisibility of women in research before the 1980s than an indication that women were not migrating. This lack of empirical descriptive work on the gender composition of historical migration flows leaves this aspect of migration patterns under-researched.

Studies show that the percentage of female international migrants rose just two per cent from 1960–2000 (from 46.6% to 48.8%) (Zlotnik 2005).This modest increase does not seem proportionate to the exponential growth of literature on women and migration since the 1980s and has contributed to the misperception of an increasing feminisation of migration. Scholars are increasingly beginning to argue that women have always participated in migration and that there has been a previous invisibility of women in research where traditionally, migration scholarship only dealt with women ‘left behind’ by their migrant husbands.

But why have migrant women become so visible and how?

It has been in large part the result of feminist scholars arguing against the exclusion of women from migration studies. The first era of migration research during the seventies and eighties was characterised by the invisibility of women and/or gender perspective. The development of feminist research within migration studies has revealed that the invisibility of women has been due to the ‘gender blindness’ of researchers and the scarcity of quantitative sources where gender disaggregation was available. In cases where women were recorded, they were usually reported as being dependant on their husbands or parents, not leaving space to analyse individual trajectories or significant contributions to the economic sphere.

Some scholars argue that this problematic omission has been solved by the ‘add and stir’ approach and the ‘women only’ approach (Hondagneu-Sotelo 2005). The first has been a useful step to compare differential values – mainly quantitative – for men and women, but does not acknowledge that gender is about power relations and negotiations and cannot be understood by simply including women in the equation. The ‘women only’ approach develops deep portrayals of women’ lives but runs the risk of presenting a victimized image of immigrant women with limited capabilities to mobilize their resources (e.g. women as trafficked and exploited agents).

Migration studies in the late 1980s and early 1990s was characterized by the inclusion of new feminist approaches leading to the analysis of gender relation dimensions. Consequently, there has been a growth in the analysis of the gendering of migration patterns, as well as the intersection between migration trajectories, gender relations, ethnicity, class, etc. (Anthias, 2012). Despite this large body of scholarship, research offering consistent empirical measures on the feminisation of migration flows is scarce and usually the studies developed are focused on individual countries only. Empirical research on the evolution of gender composition of migration flows is needed to contribute to these debates.

As part of the DEMIG (The Determinants of International Migration) project, a Country-to-Country Database (DEMIG C2C Database) was developed and has achieved more ‘depth and breadth’ of migration flow data compared with existing databases. The database contains bilateral migration flow data from 1946 to 2010 reported by mainly OECD countries but extended to other regions (such as Latin America and Southern Africa), broken down by gender and citizenship, reported by country of birth, residence and citizenship according to availability.

The DEMIG C2C Database shows that migration flows were far from highly masculinized in the 1940s and 1950s and that there actually has not been a dramatic feminization of flows. For example, in OECD countries the percentage of women in annual inflows has reduced from an average of 49.2 per cent from 1946 to 1950 to 48.1 per cent between 2000 and 2010. Therefore, there has actually been a slight masculinization of average migration flows although, this might appear differently for particular regions and nationalities (e.g. the US, Southern European countries during the 1990s and for particular migration flows) and needs to be further explored.

The DEMIG C2C Database provides the opportunity to use data to analyse the gender composition of migration flows, something we need a lot more of. The DEMIG C2C Database will be launched to the public in late 2013, please visit http://www.imi.ox.ac.uk/research-projects/demig for more information on the project.

The DEMIG project and has received funding from the European Research Council under the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) / ERC Grant Agreement 240940

via The feminisation of migration: Are more women migrating? | Debating Development.

New Regional Publications on the Middle East and Europe

Details of these new publications were originally circulated by Elisa Mason on the incredibly useful: Forced Migration Current Awareness Blog.  Further details can be found on the website at:  http://fm-cab.blogspot.co.uk/

New Publications on the Middle East

“Do not send us so we can become refugees again” –  From “Nationals of a Hostile State” to Deportees: South Sudanese in Israel (African Refugee Development Center & Hotline for Migrant Workers, Feb. 2013) [text]

Funding Gap Threatens Refugee Response in Lebanon (UNHCR, April 2013) [text]

Joint NGO/UN Briefing of the Current Shortfalls in Aid and Ability to Meet Humanitarian Needs of Refugees from Syria in Jordan (ICMC et al., April 2013) [text]

Palestinian Refugees from Syria in Lebanon (ANERA, April 2013) [text]

Palestinian Refugees from Syria in Lebanon: A Needs Assessment (ANERA, March 2013) [text]

Syrian Refugee Crisis: The View From the Turkish Border (Refugees International Blog, April 2013) [text]

UAE: Don’t Deport Tamil Refugees to Sri Lanka (Human Rights Watch, April 2013) [text]

New Publications on Europe

Decision Making in Asylum Cases and Appeal Process: Situation, Relevant Issues and Recommendations for Lithuania (IOM, 2013) [text]

Europe’s Forced Returnees Claim Abuse (IRIN, April 2013) [text]

Evaluering av advokatordningen for asylsøkere = Evaluating the legal aid provided to asylum seekers (Oxford Research, Oct. 2012) [text in Norwegian]
– An Executive Summary in English is provided on pp. 15-21.

Frontex: Human Rights Responsibilities (PACE, April 2013) [text]

UNHCR Welcomes Turkey’s New Law on Asylum (UNHCR, April 2013) [text]


New Thematic Publications on Climate Change/Natural Disasters and Ethics

Details of these new publications were originally circulated by Elisa Mason on the incredibly useful: Forced Migration Current Awareness Blog.  Further details can be found on the website at:  http://fm-cab.blogspot.co.uk/

New Publications on Climate Change/Natural Disasters

Creating New Norms? The Nansen Initiative on Disaster-induced Cross-Border Displacement (APMEN, April 2013) [text]

Disappearing States? (Brookings-LSE Project on Internal Displacement, March 2013) [text]

Disaster Response in Asia and the Pacific: A Guide to International Tools and Services (OCHA, 2013) [text via ReliefWeb]

“Migrations Climatiques,” Theme issue of Cultures & Conflits, no. 88 (Hiver 2012) [contents]

The Year of Recurring Disasters: A Review of Natural Disasters in 2012 (Brookings-LSE Project on Internal Displacement, March 2013) [text]
– See also related UpFront blog post.

New Publications on Ethics

“Addressing Ethical and Methodological Challenges in Research with Refugee-background Young People: Reflections from the Field,” Journal of Refugee Studies, vol. 26, no. 1 (March 2013) [abstract]

“Ethical Challenges in Mental Health Research among Internally Displaced People: Ethical Theory and Research Implementation,” BMC Medical Ethics, 14: 13 (March 2013) [open access text]

“Ethical Considerations for Vaccination Programmes in Acute Humanitarian Emergencies,” Bulletin of the World Health Organization, vol. 91, no. 4 (April 2013) [full-text]

“Exceptions to Blanket Anonymity for the Publication of Interviews with Refugees: African Refugees in Israel as a Case Study,” Research Ethics, OnlineFirst, 20 March 2013 [abstract]

“Perfecting Imperfect Duties: The Institutionalisation of a Universal Right to Asylum,” Journal of Political Philosophy, vol. 21, no. 1 [free full-text]


Jerusalem, Divided and United | Pulitzer Center

Published April 18, 2013

Sarah Wildman, for the Pulitzer Center

For the entirety of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, Jerusalem has been set aside for after final status negotiations. The future of the city remains one of the stickiest of negotiating issues, alongside refugees. But setting aside a decision on a divided city, or an eternally unified one, is predicated on the idea that the city will, somehow, remain static. It has not. Indeed it is constantly morphing, and there are several challenges to a shared future.

The map of Jerusalem itself has not remained constant since the city was unified in 1967. Jewish settlements at the edges of the city have metastasized, changing the map of both the city itself, and the potential outlines of a future two state solution—a Jewish state along side a Palestinian state, each with a shared half of Jerusalem as its own capitol. Twenty-three thousand new building tenders in the contested neighborhoods of Jerusalem were issued in the last year alone, more than the last three years combined. One man—Daniel Seidmann—an attorney, and the director of an NGO called Terrestrial Jerusalem monitors the map to make sure that it will still be possible to create two states with contiguous geographic elements.

via Jerusalem, Divided and United | Pulitzer Center.