Narratives of Social Discourse on Female Migration
From the past decades, in the classical perspective of migration, gender issue was not outlined (Neves, Nogueira, Topa & Silva, 2014). In recent years, female migration involves a set of categories that cause a significant impact in social relations. Gender is an influential factor in the way how women experience the migration process which is different from men (Peri, 2016). In fact, despite the rising of international migration, and to represent more than 50% of the international migrations that take place, women still face discrimination as migrants and as women (Antman, 2018).
The female migration discourse is shaped by several influent factors based on the role played by State, work, and family. From here it is possible to identify issues like gender (identity, stereotypes, and language), labour segregation, education skills, empowerment, and gender-based violence.
According to the IOM (2015) gender is based in “socially constructed roles and relationships, personality traits, attitudes, behaviours, values, relative power and influence that society ascribes to people based on their assigned sex.” (p. 12). This concept is generally accepted but it needs to be considered with cultural diversity among countries and hence gender may affect women in different ways. Discrimination might occur at the level of identity, stereotypes, and language but also considers layers like the motivation to migrate or the situation in which they are force to it. (Boyd & Grieco, 2003).
The female migration is also influenced by labour segregation (Peixoto, 2009). The Un Women Policy Brief n. 2 (2022, p.1) declares “Female labour migration tends to be heavily concentrated in occupations that are traditionally associated with specific gender roles”. According to Petrozziello (2013) “(…) conceptions of migrant women continue to suffer from various stereotypes and distortions” (p. 37). These perceptions affect the recognition of women’s academic skills and qualifications. Restrict policies tend to rise difficulties to recognise high levels of education and fail to integrate women in specialised jobs. Consequently, women are concentrated in jobs associated with female occupations as domestic work and care. The segmentation of labour influences economic development in both origin and destination countries. In recent years, the feminization of migration is characterized by women pursuing the purposes of independence and autonomy (Bachan, 2018). From a gender perspective it impacts on the socioeconomic development on a twofold analysis: women are empowered in the decision-making process, causing some disruption with the old assumption of family dependence and they contribute with remittances to the country of origins providing support to their families.
One final content refers to one of the most vulnerable situations for migrant women (Peixoto, 2009). In the Istanbul Convention (2011), article 3, gender-based violence is defined as “(…) violence that is directed against a woman because she is a woman or that affects women disproportionately.” At the migration level, women are more likely to face several types of violence than men. Parish (2017) states that “Unequal power relations create the conditions for gender-based violence to occur, and it can be perpetrated or condoned by relatives, community members or government actors.” Many forms of violence against women drive from bullying to verbal, physical and psychological abuse to sexual violence. Also, they are particularly exposed to traffic especially for the purpose of sexual and labour exploitation and slavery.
The narratives of the social discourse on female migration need to be addressed by a comprehensive and intersectional approach to respond with efficiency to the described difficulties. At this point it seems that policies should be created at a regional and local level giving support to the individuals at the field.