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The Challenges and Prospects of Female Labour Migration to the Arab Middle East: A Case Study of Women Returnees in the town of Girana, North Wollo, Ethiopia

Bergen Open Research Archive

Show simple item record Dessiye Abegaz, Mesfin 2011-12-14T09:00:24Z 2011-12-14T09:00:24Z 2011-05-30 2011-05-30 en
dc.description.abstract The returnee migrant maids had limited access to education for various socio-cultural reasons including societal priorities to men's education, early marriages, demands for women's labour for household activities and so forth. Also, they had no access to land and many of them were unemployed. As a result, the unemployed returnee women had problems in household power relations before work migration. The returnee women understood employment in the sense of paid work in education or skills-related training, and self-employment in a local business. However, they do not consider farming an employment, nor do they regard day labour work as valuable as a local trade for self-employment because it is less secured and unsustainable. Before work migration decision making at the household level was restricted by the employment status of the women given that other socio-cultural constraints are taken for granted. In other words, employment reinforced the women's decision making power while unemployment increased dependency on their spouses for household decisions. However, decision for work migration was not circumscribed by the women's unemployment status, male-dominance over women, or Islamic religious influences. Rather, the returnee women could make decision for work migration alone or in consensus with their partners. The decision to opt for work migration thus seems to be somehow exempted from the ordinary gendered decision making structures. The main reason for the returnee women's work migration to the Arab Middle East is to improve their living standard and sustain their families. The women's work migration was caused by both push and pull factors of work migration. Poverty and unemployment, which are closely related to each other, constitute the push factors while the pull factors of work migration include network of relationships with people at home or abroad. The pull factors of work migration were more important than the push factors because the returnee women were able to organize work migration from among several poor women in the town because they had effective networks with people. In organizing work migration, all the returnee women owed money either to individual lenders or to employment agencies to pay back from their monthly salaries. The returnee women who left for Saudi Arabia had non-contractual employment while those who organized work migration to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait and Lebanon had contractual employment. The similarities of these kinds of employment are more important than their differences because both underpin the dependency of the housemaids on their employers. Many of the returnee women had also their labour shared with other families without extra payment. As a result, they were vulnerable to labour exploitation and abuses, and were treated as having sub-human status. Cultural isolation and denigration of identity were also the challenges encountered by the returnee women. This made them easy prey to the racial and xenophobic practices of their employers. Not all of the returnee migrant maids were able to achieve their aims through work migration. Only five out of twelve women succeeded in improving their living standard when they returned home while the rest could not. The achievements of the successful returnee women include: building houses, running small businesses and a local restaurant, and engaging in the local... en
dc.format.extent 1126965 bytes en
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf en
dc.language.iso eng en
dc.publisher The University of Bergen en
dc.rights Copyright the author. All rights reserved en
dc.title The Challenges and Prospects of Female Labour Migration to the Arab Middle East: A Case Study of Women Returnees in the town of Girana, North Wollo, Ethiopia en
dc.type Master thesis en Master i Master of Philosophy in Gender and Development en
dc.type.course GAD350 en
dc.subject.nsi VDP::Social science: 200::Women's and gender studies: 370 en
dc.rightsHolder The author en
dc.subject.archivecode Mastergrad en
dc.subject.nus 739999 en
dc.type.program MAPS-GAD en

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