Front Cover
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Tables and figures
 Chapter 1: Introduction
 Chapter 2: Methodology
 Chapter 3: Where are they?: Migration...
 Chapter 4: Who are they?: Characteristics...
 Chapter 5: Why do women migrate?:...
 Chapter 6: Economics of migrat...
 Chapter 7: Impact of migration...
 Chapter 8: Implications for...
 Annex A: Participants of the policy...

Group Title: Women in migration : a third world focus
Title: Women in migration
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00080516/00001
 Material Information
Title: Women in migration a third world focus
Physical Description: iii, 151 p. : ill. ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Youssef, Nadia Haggag
Buvinić, Mayra
Kudat, Ayșe
Sebstad, Jennifer
Von Elm, Barbara
International Center for Research on Women
United States -- Agency for International Development. -- Office of Women in Development
Publisher: The Office
Place of Publication: Washington D.C.
Publication Date: [1979]
Subject: Emigration and immigration -- Social aspects   ( lcsh )
Women -- Social conditions   ( lcsh )
Women's employment -- Developing countries   ( lcsh )
Genre: federal government publication   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Bibliography: Bibliography: p. 154-170
Statement of Responsibility: Nadia Youssef, Mayra Buvinic, and Ayse Kudat (coordinating authors) ; with Jennifer Sebstad and Barbara Von Elm (contributing authors) ; prepared by International Center for Research on Women ; for Office of Women in Development, Agency for International Development.
General Note: "June 1979"--Cover.
General Note: "Grant no. AID/OTR-G-1592"--Cover.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00080516
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 001268418
oclc - 09124526
notis - AGB9048

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Title Page
        Title Page
    Table of Contents
        Table of Contents
        Page i
    Tables and figures
        Page ii
        Page iii
    Chapter 1: Introduction
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
    Chapter 2: Methodology
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
    Chapter 3: Where are they?: Migration patterns
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
    Chapter 4: Who are they?: Characteristics of women migrants
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
    Chapter 5: Why do women migrate?: Factors explaining the migration of women
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
    Chapter 6: Economics of migration
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
    Chapter 7: Impact of migration on family structure
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
    Chapter 8: Implications for policy
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
    Annex A: Participants of the policy roundtable on migration and women
        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
        Page 159
        Page 160
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 163
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Full Text


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1010 16TH STREET N.W., WASHINGTON, D.C. 20036




:GRANT No. AID/OTR-G-1592 ?

JUNE 1979 :


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International Center for Research on Women*

* Nadia Youssef, Mayra Buvinic, and Ayse Kudat (coordinating authors)
with Jennifer Sebstad and Barbara Von Elm (contributing authors)

The views and interpretations in this publication are those of the
author and should not be attributed to the Agency for International






a. Data Sources 7

b. An Index of Sex Differences in Migration Trends 10


a. Results: Sex Differences in Regional Migration
Trends 16

b. International Migration 42




a. What is the Economic Situation of Women Migrants? 98

b. What is the Impact of Male Migration Upon Rural Women? 115





ANNEX A: Participants of the Policy Roundtable on "Migration
and Women"


This study was made possible by Grant No. AID/otr-G-1592 from the
Bureau for Program and Policy Coordination (PPC/WID) of the Agency for
International Development. We are grateful to Arvonne Fraser, WID
Coordinator for her interest throughout the study. Eduardo Arriaga,
Special Assistant for International Demographic Methods, U.S. Bureau of
the Census, helped us develop the migration index. Special appreciation
is extended to him. Sincere thanks go to Judith Johnson for her excellent
editorial work and to Alissa Okuneff, for her assistance in the literature
review. We are also indebted to James Brown, Economist, Bureau of the
Near East, Agency for International Development, and William P. McGreevey
Program Director, Population Study Center, Battelle,for their help in
facilitating the initial stages of this work.



la Sex Differentials in Outmigration from Rural Areas in
Third World Countries by Region and Indicating Total (TMI),
Female-Dominated (FMI), and Male-Dominated (MMI) Outmigration.

lb Sex Differentials in Outmigration from Rural Areas in
Third World Countries by Region and by Age.

2 Standardized Ratio of Urban to Rural Population in Africa,
by Country, Age and Sex.

3 Immigrants to Australia, Canada and USA from a Selected
Number of Developing Countries.

4 Regional Comparisons of Index of Femaleness in Long Term
Immigration and Emigration.

4a Male and Female Immigrants in Selected Countries Around 1965.

4b Age and Sex-Specific Long-Term Emigration from Selected

5 Sex-Specific Migration to Two Oil Producing Countries.

6 Composition of Turkish Migration Stream by Year and Sex.

7 Unemployment by Migrant Status and Regions
Brazil, 1970.

8 Economically Active Population by Type of Activity
Metropolitan Sao Paulo, Brazil, 1970.

9 Occupational Status of Economically Active Recent Migrants
and Residents by Sex and Destination: Colombia, 1964
(In Percentages).

10 Percent Distribution of Incomes of the Economically Active
Populations by Sex and Migration Status: Metropolitan Regions,
Brazil, 1970.


1 Deviations of the "Observed" Rural Female to Male Ratio from
the "Expected" Female to Male Ratio for Africa by Country and
by Five Year Age Groups.

Figures (continued)

2 Deviations of the "Observed" Rural Female to
from the "Expected" Female to Male Ratio for
Country and by Five Year Age Groups.

3 Deviations of the "Observed" Rural Female to
from the "Expected" Female to Male Ratio for
Central America and the Caribbean.

Male Ratio
Asia by

Male Ratio
Latin America:

4 Deviations of the "Observed" Rural Female to Male Ratio
from the "Expected" Female to Male Ratio for Latin America:
South America by Country and by Five Year Age Groups.

5 Deviations of the "Observed" Rural Female to Male Ratio
from the "Expected" Female to Male Ratio for the Middle East
by Country and by Five Year Age Groups.

The title of this report will lead many to question--justifiably--the

reasons for singling out or isolating for study such a large group of

people in the Third World who may have in common only the fact that they

are women. What does the sex variable represent, and does it add anything

to our understanding of development processes in general and migration

trends in particular?

Recent evidence on the economic participation of women sheds light

on the first question, for women in Third World countries are often

among the poorest of the poor. Contrary to conventional statistics

(and wisdom), the economic participation of these women in both the

traditional and modern sectors is substantial, but it is also different

from that of men, for women are generally overrepresented in those

economic sectors with low productivity and meager earnings. If, in

addition, they have to bear the main economic responsibility for their

families, theirs are the households with the least economic resources.

Women-headed households in the Third World are numerous and their

numbers are growing. One of the factors contributing to the establishment

and perpetuation of these households seems to be sex-specific migration;

either men move in search of jobs and leave women and children behind,

or women migrate autonomously and establish their own households.

This link between women-headed households in the Third World and

migration was the first in a chain of factors that motivated this report.

The absence of any analysis of the existing studies of autonomous

women migrants was the second. The third, and most important factor

was the apparent contradiction between recent data on the magnitude

of migration moves of autonomous women, on the one hand, and the lack of

acknowledgment of such data in the migration literature, on the

other. The fourth was our awareness of the importance of informing

those engaged in formulating development programs and policy of, at

the very least, the overall magnitudes and trends in Third World countries.

Trends. It is a well-known and accepted fact that women predominate

in rural to urban migration in many countries in Latin America and the

Caribbean. In the Dominican Republic, for instance, the new urban

influx of women is almost four times as great as that of men; of the

total population of Bogota, Colombia, in 1973, 51 percent of the women

and 45 percent of the men had come from other parts of the country; and

in Jamaica, the ratio of women to men has long been conspicuously

higher in urban than in rural areas. The movement of Latin American

women to metropolitan areas began in the early 1960's and it continues

today. The pervasiveness of this trend led, ten years after it began,

to the first studies focusing on the migration of women; while the

evidence is still very incomplete, a fairly consistent socioeconomic

profile of the migrant woman in the region is beginning to emerge.

Puch less is known about the trend toward increasing migration of

women in Asia and Africa that has taken place in the last two decades.

Moves of autonomous women migrants to selected Asian cities -- Bangkok,

Hong Kong, Manila, and Delhi -- intensified in the 1960's. In Thailand

between 1960 and 1972, the number of male recent migrants increased by

112 percent, while that of women increased by 142 percent. In Bangkok,

in the 1960s there were more male than female migrants, but that was

reversed in the 1970s. While women always predominated among migrants to

Manila, their predominance increased in the 1960s. That decade also

witnessed increasing "autonomous" migration of rural women to Hong Kong

and to Delhi. Pt the national level in India, the volume of female

migration exceeds that of men in rural-urban moves as well as in

moves from small towns to cities. In the 1960s there also began to

be a greater equalization of what had been a very unbalanced, male-

dominated sex ratio in West African cities; the cause of this trend was

increasing migration to urban areas of young West African women who

chose to remain in the cities rather than go back to their villages to

marry. In the Middle Eastern countries, the more striking event during

the 1960s was the emigration of Turkish wonei to West Germany as part
of the internationalization of labor.

The increasing magnitude of the autonomous migration of women in the

Third World emphasizes the fact that an understanding of migration

patterns and trends needs analysis by sex differentials. In spite of this,

studies of migration continue to associate female migration with

marriage. It is difficult to know whether this is a cause of or a

consequence of the lack of data. The result is the prevalent assumption

that the migration of women has no economic motivations or implications,

a view which obscures the link between migration factors and economic

conditions in developing countries. The data presented in this report

will show that there are serious economic dimensions to women's migration

patterns and that women migrants -- married and autonomous -- should

be studied as a category separate from male migrants and non-migrant women.

When women migrants become a focus for research, then migration models

will be designed that include the urban informal sector and women's role

therein as a factor in the migration equation and that show the relation-

ships among migration, the size of the urban job market, urban employment, a

and unemployment.

Problems of Conceptualization. One major problem facing those

who want to study women migrants is the difficulty of obtaining

reliable data. In many developing countries, accurate and sex-disag-

gregated population statistics are not available. Indeed, many countries

do not collect statistics on migrancy status, so that information

on migration must be derived indirectly from whatever demographic

data are collected. Sex ratios, urban and rural growth rates, fertility

patterns, all give us some clues to rates of migration. But they give

little indication of the direction, composition, or structural factors

related to migrant flows, particularly where women are concerned.

We had to deal with several other problems when we began our

study of migrant women in the Third World. A major problem is that

using available data it is difficult to distinguish between autonomous

female migration as distinct from that of accompanying migration

(wives moving with or following husbands). Where sex differences are

outlined in data sources, only rarely are data on marital status

variables also available. What little information there is suggests

that marital status and age are both factors in migration decisions, but

that whether they are positive or negative factors depends on the stage

reached in the life cycle at the time of the decision. A related problem

is the inability to discriminate between those married women who migrate

for economic reasons (even if they do precede, accompany or follow their

husbands) and those who do not and, more generally, the inability to link

the economic behavior and/or motivations of migrant women with their (de

jure and de facto) marital status.

A third problem is that all "types" of migration are lumped together

under one heading. It may be possible to find the total female migrant

rate in a given country but not to distinguish among the particular types

of movements that are involved. migrants (men and women) can be subdivided

into the following typology : seasonal agricultural migrants, short-term J

migrants, inter-rural migrants, inter-urban migrants, rural-urban migrants,

interregional migrants, and international migrants. Except for those in

the interregional and international groups it is difficult to discover

how many migrants are in each of the.categories. There is virtually no

information on the number of seasonal women migrants, for instance,

despite their apparent magnitude and it cannot be assumed that this category

is captured by the internal migration statistics.

Because of these shortcomings in the data, our analysis will be

concerned mostly with women migrants in urban areas. When focusing on

r!uch of what this report says can apply equally to men migrants. Its
emphasis is, however, on the behaviors of women migrants that are different
from those of men migrants and/or that respond to particular conditions
affecting women but not men.

specific variables (i.e., women's age and their economic situation) we

usually cannot distinguish between autonomous women migrants and those

who migrate as dependents since these variables are rarely cross tabulated

by marital status. In regards to women left behind as a consequence of

male emigration, this analysis examines the scant data there are on the

negative impact of male outmigration on rural women and on agricultural

productivity. Little attention has been given to the social and economic

context in which the women left behind function or to how they cope with

these dislocations. The data are limited, but some suggestive trends can

be drawn from them.

Throughout the report we have attempted to answer, or at least provide

partial answers to, a number of questions :

-Who are the women migrants and how do they differ from male migrants

in terms of age and other demographic characteristics?

-Why and under what socioeconomic conditions do women migrate? What

are the factors that motivate them to move from one place to the other?

-What are the characteristics of women's socioeconomic condition

in the place of destination? How do these differ from male migrants and

from non-migrant women? What are the reasons for this difference?

-Who are the women left behind? What is the economic and familial 4

context in which they function?

We have also tried to provide an idea of the magnitude of women

migrants in Third World countries by developing an index of sex differences

in outmigration trends for forty-six countries.

This report does not deal with the migration trends of Third World
women into the United States since this topic is currently receiving
research attention from scholars (Chaney and Safa amongst others).


a. Data Sources

There are obvious data related problems which make it difficult

to assess the magnitude of internal and international migration for

both men and women in the Third World. Unrecorded "illegal" migra-

tion and seasonal migration figure prominently among the categories

for which data is lacking.

There are only two publications that attempt to quantify sex

differences in migration: The Handbook of International Data on

Women (Boulding et al; 1976), and Trends and Characteristics of

International Migration Since 1950 (U.N. Forthcoming).

Boulding's book ranks countries according to an "index of femaleness"

in long-term immigration and emigration. The index -- which is ex-

pressed in terms of the ratio of women to the total number of non-

residents and emigrants -- identifies countries where the immigrant/

emigrant population is predominantly women and others where it is mini-

mal. Because data are available for only a\ limited number of coun-

tries, the index is useful primarily for what it shows about the

differences among countries in the degree of female participation in

the migratory process.

The U.N. publication gives annual statistics of immigrants and

emigrants classified by sex and age, and census data on the foreign-

born or alien population classified by sex and age and,where avail-

able, by period of immigration.

In addition to these sources there are some national censuses

which include in their published volumes tabulations comparing birth-

place to current residence, and in some instances, sex differences

with respect to demographic characteristics of migrant groups.

While these three sources are important in establishing the mag-

nitude of women's participation in both internal and international

migration, they are not helpful in distinguishing 'autonomous' women

migrants from those who move with spouse or parents, since cross-class-
ification by marital status of migrants is not provided (with

very few exceptions). Likewise, amongst married women the extent of

migration which is induced by economic reasons is obscured.

There are some regional, country, and community studies that

complement the international statistics. Such studies are heavily

weighted towards countries in the Latin American region, where

attention has been drawn to the predominance of rural-urban female

migration, particularly the concentration of women in capital-city

areas (Castro et al, 1978; Connell, 1976; Elizaga, 1972; Elton, 1974; Fox

and Hugert, 1977; Herold, 1978; Jelin, 1977; Kemper, 1977; Rengert, 1978;

Standing, 1978d) In addition censuses in Latin American countries cover

data on migrants by sex more comprehensively than those in any other

region. (it is not clear whether the studies have caused governments to

collect better data or the data have caused the studies.)
In Africa, attention has been almost exclusively focused on the

predominance of male migrants and the points of origin and desti-

nation. The "women left behind" have received only passing mention.

The first systematic attempt at addressing this issue is, of course,

the seminal work of Esther Boserup -- Woman's Role in Economic Deve-

lopment -- which deals with the consequences for women of male mi-

gration -- the increased work, the economic burdens and the related

effects on agricultural productivity. It was the latter point, in

particular, that sparkled the interest of development planners. The

increase in women migrants to urban centers in Africa has not yet re-

ceived widespread systematic attention, though some anthropologists have

researched the situation for West Africa (Little, 1973; Sudarkasa, 1977).

There have also been some studies of sex differences in rural and urban

migration in Asian countries (Goldstein and Tirasawat, 1977; Pernia,

1977; Piampiti (n.d.); Sallaf, 1976; Singh, 1978a). Several have probed

into the questions of which women are being affected by this process and

in what ways. (Pernia, Sallaf, and Singh to cite only a few.)

Data on Turkish women migrants to West Germany have provided the

basis for studies of international migration (Abadan-Unat, 1977; Kudat,1975a;

1975b; Kudat, et al, 1976, 1979). A recent development of interest has

been the export of Arab nationals from the labor-abundant Arab countries

to the oil-producing countries that face labor shortages, but the impact

of the move on the women left behind has not been addressed except in

the case of Yemen. Given that the proportion of the exported male labor

amounts to 30 per cent of the total economically active male population
in that country, and that some specific villages are virtually depleted

of active males, women in Yemen have been assuming in some instances,

the burden of most agricultural tasks (McClelland, 1978; Ross, 1977).

Increasingly, then, Third World countries are experiencing

significant movements in female migration both as a percentage of

total migrants and in absolute numbers. It is unfortunate that

available data and, indeed, many country and community studies do

not provide indications of how many autonomous women migrants are

involved in this trend. The linkage between economic conditions

and female migrancy is also missing because of the lack of infor-

mation on women involved in seasonal migration.

b. An Index of Sex Differences in Migration Trends
In the absence of actual figures on the number of migrants by

sex, sex ratios representing the proportion of males to females re-

siding in rural and/or urban areas are frequently used as indicators

of migratory moves by sex. To identify countries in the Third World

that have autonomous migrants of both sexes and give rough estimates

of the magnitudes of these autonomous migration trends, we constructed

a sex differential (or "femaleness") migration index composed of both

an observed (or actual) and an expected sex ratio. Population figures

from national censuses for forty-six Third World countries were used

to calculate the index.Y/

The observed sex ratio (y) is defined as the number of females

per 100 males for all five-year age groups between the ages of 15 and

64 in rural areas. For each five-year cohort:

rural females X 10
Rural males

2/ U.N. 1977, Demographic Yearbook, 1976.

Other things being equal, we assume that when y is greater than

100 -- that is, more than 100 females per 100 males reside in rural

areas -- there is male-dominated outmigration. Conversely, when y

is smaller than 100 we assume female-dominated outmigration from rural

areas. If y Is equal to or close to 100 -- that is, the numbers of fe-

males and males in the rural area are equal -- there are three possible

explanations: 1) There is no outmigration from the rural area, 2) there

is family outmigration, or 3) males and females outmigrate independ-

ently but in the same numbers. We focus on rural outmigration rather

than urban immigration both because rural sex ratios are less likely

than urban ones to be distorted by international immigration and be-

cause the magnitude of urban to rural migration, when compared with

rural to urban moves, is generally not large enough to have a major

distortion effect on the rural population ratios.

The sex ratios by age groups help to identify outmigration that

is selective by both sex and age and indicates when in their life

cycle women and men migrate independently. Further, analysis of sex

ratios by age which leaves out people between the ages 1 to 15 reduces

some of the possible biases due to sex differences in fertility and

mortality rates, which tend to be large in many developing countries.

To further reduce biases due to age-specific sex differences in fer-

tility and mortality rates, we introduced a second ratio into the mi-

gration index, the expected sex ratio (y).

This expected ratio is defined as the expected number of females per

100 males that would result in a population where only sex differentials

at birth and mortality are operating (not migration) for all 5 year age

groups between the ages of 15 and 64. Life tables by sex and age

from the U.S. Bureau of the Census series on Country Demographic

Profiles, which take into account morality differentials but where

migration is not a factor, are used to calculate y for each five-year

group where:

f L female x 100
L male

L stands for life table estimated population for a five-year age group

and f is a constant included to account for the sex ratio at birth and

represents the number of females per 100 males. Assuming a differen-

tial of 105 males for every 100 females; f equals 0.952.

If y-y is different from zero, that is, if the observed sex ratio

is larger or smaller than the expected sex ratio, we can safely assume

that these deviations from the expected value are due neither to mor-

tality nor to the differential sex ratio at birth; we further assume

that the main factor accounting for such deviations is sex differen-

tial migration. It is also assumed that biases due to sex differences

in age misreporting and underenumeration are not large enough to sig-

nificantly alter the observed sex ratios. Given these assumptions,

we define and interpret the deviations from the expected sex ratio

values as follows:

1. The male dominant migration index (MMI), indicates the extent

to which men migrate more than women from rural areas and is represented

when the sum of the deviations from the age-specific expected ratios

3/ See explanatory notes at end of chapter.

is positive (i.e., more females than males, y-y is greater than 0).

2. The female dominant migration index (FMI) indicates the extent

to which more women than men outmigrate from rural areas and is re-

presented when the sum of the deviations from the age specific ex-

pected ratios is negative (i.e., more males than females, y-y is less

than 0).

3. The sum of the two indices, MMI and FMI (using absolute num-

bers), is the total sex differential migration index (TMI), and it is

an indicator of the extent of overall sex differential outmigration

from rural areas within a country. (TMI = MMI + FMI)

The migration index is relative and yields information only on the

extent to which more women than men (or vice versa) migrate within

specific age groups. It cannot yield information on the absolute mag-

nitude of migration for each sex. Therefore, a score of zero in the

female or male migration index for any country does not necessarily

mean that no women or men outmigrate either alone or with their fami-

lies; rather, it merely indicates that within the specific age group

women do not have a greater or lesser propensity to migrate from rural

areas than men.

To compensate for this "loss" of information we have used, as com-

plementary information, the proportion of urban to rural population

by sex and age in each country. Independently for each sex, we ob-

tained urban to rural ratios for the population in every five-year

age group between the ages of 15 and 64; in addition, we obtained the

urban to rural population ratio for all ages, and compared this total

with the age specific urban/rural ratio. The working hypothesis for

this comparison is that if there is no migration from rural areas to

urban areas, the age-specific urban/rural ratios will be similar to

the total urban/rural ratio; if there is rural outmigration, however,

the age-specific urban to rural ratio will tend to be larger than

the total ratio. Thus, a country with a FMI close to zero might still

have outmigration of women from rural areas, if the urban to rural

ratio for the female population within specific age groups is sig-

nigicantly larger than the total urban to rural ratio for the female

population. If the same pattern for the male population in the coun-

try is found, this suggests that the low value of the total migration

index, (i.e. no sex differences in migration) is due to significant

outmigration from rural areas of both men and women rather than to no


In order to compare the age-specific urban/rural ratios between

men and women and between countries (given the different levels of

urbanization across countries), the age specific urban/rural ratios

were standarized for each sex by dividing these ratios by the urban/

rural ratio for the whole population (multiplied by 100). The age-

specific urban/rural ratios presented in this report are the standardized

scores. Because this standardization procedure makes difficult any

interpretation of age-specific urban/rural ratios that are smaller

than the total urban/rural ratio, they are not included in our ana-

lysis. In short, they should not be interpreted as an indication of

urban to rural migration.

Additionally, we have assumed that the distribution of the posi-

tive urban/rural ratios for those age groups analyzed is not altered

by rural/urban fertility differentials.


Explanatory Notes:

While it would have been desirable to use information for
rural populations, only life table estimates for whole country popu-
lations were available.

Estimated life tables were not available for every country.
In Africa tables were available for only Kenya (1969) and Ghana (1970).
Except for Kenya, all the African countries listed in our index
used the age-specific averages for these two countries.
For Asia, estimates were available for India (1969); Indonesia
(1961-71); Korea (1966); Malaysia (1970); Nepal (1974-76); Philippines
(1969-71); and Thailand (1970). For the two countries without
estimates (Bangladesh and Pakistan) we used data for India which was
thought to most closely approximate these countries' sex-specific
mortality rates.
For Central America estimated life tables were available for
Costa Rica (1972-74); Guatemala (1970-72); Honduras (1974); Mexico
(1970); and Panama (1969-70). Age-specific averages of estimates for
these countries were substituted for other Central American and
Caribbean countries for which data were not available.
For South America estimated life table ratios were available only
for Brazil (1967) and Chile (1969-70). The averages of the age-
specific expected ratios were used for all other South American
Countries listed in Table 1.
Estimated life tables for Middle Eastern countries were not
available through the U.S. Bureau of the Census. However, data for
the East Bank of Jordan (1972) was obtained from "A Study of Mortality
in Jordan with Special Reference to Infant Mortality," by Dr. M.
Sivamurthy and Abdul Rahim A. Ma'ayta. The expected sex ratios
used for all Middle East countries were derived from these data.

Below is a summary of the computations.

5Fx f.5LF
y- -- X 100 LM X 100
5 x 5 x

M.I N y y > 0

FMI = y y 0


s 5 x s tfR
females -- X 100 males = x" X 100

Where: x = specific age group; F = female.population; M male population;
U urban; R = rural; L = life table function; s = standardized ratio; and
t total sex specific population.


a. Results: Sex Differences in Regional Migration Trends:
Africa. Using population data for fourteen African coun-

tries, the Total Migration Index (TMI) shows that, of the four major

'/ regions in the Third World, Africa has the highest level of sex dif-

ferential outmigration from rural areas. The average Total Migra-

tion Index (which is the sum of all age specific female and male

dominated outmigration) is 187 for the African countries while it is

110 and 111 for South and Central America and the Caribbean respec-

tively, 103 for the Middle East, and 75 for Asia. Only three African

countries, Ethiopia, Lesotho and Mauritania, show total migration

indexes below 100 suggesting that in these countries there is little

or no sex differential migration and, perhaps, little outmigration
from rural areas in general (see Table 1).- We will come back to the

general question of outmigration for these three countries later on.

Figure 1 reveals a prevailing and quite consistent pattern in

most of the other countries in the African region. With the exception

of Libya, outmigration from rural areas is heavily male dominated,

especially in the three age groups between the ages of twenty and

thirty-four. Further, South Africa and Botswana (and, to a lesser

extent, Tanzania) show no female dominated migration in any age group.

These results are consistent with the evidence in the migration litera-

ture which indicates predominant male outmigration for wage labor in

urban areas and for work in the mines (Lesotho presents a discordant

finding; because of sex-segregated work in the mines, the patterns
4/ Tables 1, lb, and 2 are at the end of the chapter. Figures 1 through
Share based on data which is included in Table lb.


Figure 1. Deviations of the "Observed" Rural Female to Male Ratio from the
"Expected" Female to Male Ratio for Africa by Country and by Five Year Age Groups.

Deviations from expected
105 rural ratio of women per
100 100 men K
95 *** Kenya 1969
90 oooooo Lesotho 1972
S \ -- -Libya 1973
85 -- xxxxx Mauritania 1975
80 -- imem Morocco 1971
\ ........ Rwanda 1970
75 *"*S.. u* South Africa 1970
70 0t 3= Tanzania 1967
Botswana 1971
65 --
i **
60 -- .

45 -
430 ...**a.
35.- / \ \ '
30'-- J **. \
25 I
+(MMI) 20 -

-10 i O 4.. "

-IO 1/5 \-< .k %

-(FMI) -20 .. ***
-25 -
-30 -
-35 -

-45 --- Five Year
15-19 20-24 25-29 30.34 35-39 40-44 45-49 50-54 55-59 60-64 Age Groups

Source: Rural Population data for the "observed" sex ratios were obtained from the UN Demographic Yearbook. 1976 Date noted for
each country refers to year data were collected Data for the "expected" sex ratios were derwived from the U.S Bureau of the
Census estimated life table values
Note: Positive deviations from the "'expected" sex ratio indicate male dominated rural out-migration (MMI); negative deviations
reveal female dominated rural out-migration (FMI)

should have been similar to those of South Africa).

As Figure 1 also shows, except for South Africa, Botswana and

Lesotho, all other countries show female dominated outmigration in

the 50-54 and on age groups; in many countries, this outmigration

starts by age 45. An immediate question arising is that perhaps

these data reflect sex differentials in mortality rather than mi-

gration. While it cannot be completely discarded, this explanation

loses ground since the migration index compares the observed (ac-

tual)sex ratio for the specific age group with an expected ratio

based on estimated life table values that control for mortality dif-

ferentials. The recent evidence, moreover, increasingly supports

this pattern of female dominated outmigration from rural areas in

'Africa -- outmigration that takes place when women become widows or
separate/divorce and find themselves with no means of economic sup-

port in the rural environment. Figure 1 further reveals female do-

minated outmigration for the ages 15-19 for Kenya, Lesotho, Morocco,

Rwanda, and Libya. Libya's general outmigration pattern deviates

most within the African context. For unknown reasons it shows female

dominated outmigration for all age groups (we found no literature on

women's migration in Libya;as such, it emerges as a country in need

of sex-specific migration research.)

The standardized urban/rural ratios give additional information

on migration of both men and women (migrating jointly or autonomously)

that is not reflected in the index because the sex ratios only yield

relative or differential magnitudes. They show that, in most countries,

there is significant rural to urban migration of both women and men

between the ages of twenty and thirty-four -- a large portion of

which probably is family migration (see Table 2). These urbanward

trends are present in Mauritania for men and women between the age

of twenty-five and thirty-nine, which indicates that there is rural to

urban migration in this country that was not picked up by the index.

This is probably because men and women migrate in similar numbers.

The urban-rural ratios for Ethiopia, however, are more difficult to

interpret. They show stable rates for women but do show rural/urban

differentials for men between the ages of twenty-five and forty-four.

This should have been picked up by the index. As we already men-

tioned, the other country that has non-interpretable data is Lesotho.

The general possibility of increasing migration among autonomous young

African women to the cities defines a central issue for policy and

program formulation.

Asia. Asia, represented in this analysis by nine countries, has

the lowest regional sex differential in rural outmigration (see Table 1).

Two countries, Nepal and Indonesia, deviate from this pattern re-

vealing comparatively high levels of male dominated outmigration from

rural areas between the ages of 20 to 34. Nepal also reveals male

dominated outmigration in the older age groups -- ages 50 and over.

Except for this country, and to a lesser extent for Thailand (where in

general the least amount of sex differential outmigration is shown),

all other countries show small but consistent women dominated out-

migration in the older age groups -- a "milder" version of the pattern

reflected in the analysis of African countries (see Figure 2).


Figure 2. Deviations of the "Observed" Rural Female to Male Ratio from the
"Expected" Female to Male Ratio for Asia by Country and by Five Year Age Groups.















.(MMI) 20







-(FMI) -20





Deviations from expected
rural ratio of women per
100 men

*o*e Bangladesh 1974
xxxxx India 1969
ooooc Indonesia 1971
===- Korea 1966
........... Malaysia 1970
---- Nepal 1976
- Pakistan 1969
t*** Philippines 1971
i-,Thailand 1970

1 S. I

5-19 20-2 I2 I
15-19 20-24 25-29 30-34 35-39 40-44 45-49 50-54 55-59 60-64

Five Year ...
Age Groups

Source Rural Population data for the observed" sex ratios were obtained from the UN Demographir Yearbook. 1976 Date noted for
each country refers to year data were collected Data for the "expected sex ratios were derived from the U S Bureau of the
Census estimated life table values
Note Positive deviations from the expected sex ratio indicate male dominated rural out-migration (MMI) negaltve deviations
reveal female dominalea rural out-migration (FMli


Half of the countries show slight female dominated outmigration

for young women between the ages of 15 and 19. All Asian countries

show a consistent trend of male dominated outmigration between the

ages of 25 and 34. These two groups of people probably outmigrate

from rural areas -- the young women going to the cities -- mostly

for work related reasons. The literature indicates that jobs in the

city are a predominant reason for the high number of young women

migrants to Seoul, Korea; as Figure 2 shows, the analysis confirms

this finding. The analysis of sex differentials also corroborates

the well known fact of significant women outmigration in the Philippines.

This is the only country in the Asian region that shows a high fe-

male dominated outmigration index and almost no male dominated moves

(see Table 1).

Data in Table 2 show that,with the exception of Bangaladesh

(which shows no substantial outmigration) and Pakistan (which shows

only male outmigration), the other seven Asian countries indicate /

high levels of rural to urban migration of both young men and women

between the ages of 15 and 24. The literature suggests that some of

these young women migrants move to urban areas with or following their

husbands while others move to find jobs in the cities.

Latin America: Central America and the Caribbean. Seven Central

American countries plus Cuba, Haiti, and Puerto Rico, all show

an extremely high and consistent pattern of female dominated

outmigration from rural areas (See Table 1). Costa Rica,

Figure 3. Deviations of the "Observed" Rural Female to Male Ratio from the
"Expected" Female to Male Ratio for Latin America; Central America and the
105 Deviations from expected
S rural ratio of women per
100 -
100 men Costa Rica 1973
95 -- oooooCuba 1970
90 ~~~=o Dominican Rep. 1970
-Guatemala 1973
85 -- Haiti 1974
S........ Honduras 1973
80 -
Im Mexico 1976
75 -- ,*- Panama 1976
xxxxx Puerto Rico 1970
70 -


+(MMI) 20 -- *

15 .


,xxx xxxxxxx
^^"*f-- -------- n, \ ___ A .- ---,-
.0 P .... %
N- .............
5 V t'v, --.

-15 cc ***t **
-(FMI) -20 c*** ..
-25 -
.30- 0oo
-35 C
.40 i I I I I coo
40 I I I I Five Year
-45 15-19 20-24 25-29 30-34 35-39 40-44 45-49 50-54 55-59 60-64 Age Groups

Source: Rural Population data for the observed" sex ratios were obtained from the UNDemographic Yearbook. 197 Date notedfor
each country refers to year data were collected Data for the "expected- sex ratios were derived from the US Bureau of the
Census estimated life table values
Note: Positive deviations from the "expected" sex ratio indicate male dominated rural out-migration (MMI. negative deviations
reveal female dominated rural out-migration (FMI)

Cuba, Honduras, Mexico and Panama reveal female dominated outmigration

for all age groups. The remaining countries, interestingly enough,

show neutral or slightly male-dominated outmigration within the younger

age groups, especially between the ages of 20 and 29 (see Figure 3).

Except for Haiti in particular, and to a lesser extent for Mexico

and Panama, the urban/rural ratios indicate that the migration of women tothe

urban areas increases steadily with age. Haiti and Panama show very

high rural to urban migration rates for young women ages 15-19. The

urban/rural ratios show rural to urban migration occurring with less

intensity for men than for women; where it does occur, it tends to

concentrate in the 20 to 29 age groups (Table 2). This combination

of findings suggests that the male dominated outmigration picked up

by the index is international (labod migration rather than rural to

urban migration within the country of origin. The evidence from the

literature confirms the general pattern for the region: women pre-

dominate in rural outmigration movements at all ages; where men pre-

dominate,it is a result of international rather than national urbanward

migration. The analysis further suggests that for women in the younger

versus the older age groups, there is significant outmigration to

other rural areas or other countries, rather than mostly national ur-

banward moves. Many of these younger women probably move with or

following their mates; yet many others probably move autonomously.

South America. The Seven South American countries show a con-

sistent trend but with extremely quantitative variations. Except for

Guyana, six South American countries repeat the regional trend for

Figure 4. Deviations of the "Observed" Rural Female to Male Ratio from the
"Expected" Female to Male Ratio for Latin Americas South America by Country
and by Five Year Age Groups.
105 Deviations from expected
rural ratio of women per
100 100 men
95 -
xxxxx Bolivia 1972
SBrazil 1970
85 ***. Chile 1967
0 ooooo Ecuador 1974
==-= Guyana 1970
75 ...... Paraguay 1972
70 Peru 1973


55 -




25 -

+(MMI) 20


., _XX X ..-.

-5 2,-00 C*oo Ai

-10 \ .> *..

-40 I I I I I I I
SI I I II Five Year .
15-19 20-24 25-29 30-34 35-39 40-44 45-49 50-54 55-59 60-64 Age Groups

Source- Rural Population data for the "observed" sex ratios were obtained from the UN Demographic Yearbook 1976 Date notedfor
each country refers to year data were collected Data for the "expected" sex ratios were derived from the US Bureau of tne
Census estimated life table values
Note: Positive deviations from the "expected" sex ratio indicate male dominated rural out-migration (MMI). negative deviations
reveal female dominated rural out-migration (FMI)

Central America and the Caribbean and show female dominated rural

outmigration in all or almost all the age groups. Unlike any other

region reviewed here, however, the extent of sex differential in-

migration varies from an extremely high value for Chile to an ex-

tremely low one for Peru (a TMI of 235 for Chile and of only 28 for

Peru -- as shown in Table 1).

Figure 4 shows particularly high sex differentials in rural out-

migration for the older age groups for all countries. Apart from

Guyana, only Bolivia and Peru show slight male dominated outmigration

from rural areas; Bolivia reveals this dominant male outmigration for

the age groups between 15 and 34, and Peru only for the 30 to 34

age group. The urban/rural ratios confirm the urbanward migration

of women. They also show a rural to urban migration of men for all

countries (except Guyana) occurring especially between the ages of

20 to 34 (Table 2). Table 2 also indicates rural to urban migration

in Peru (not picked up in the sex differential index) of men between

the ages of 20 to 34 and of women between the ages of 15 to 29.

Paraguay, another country with low sex differentials, reveals in the

urban/rural ratio urbanward migration of both men and women, especially

in the very young and very old age groups. -

Middle East. The Middle East follows Asia in yielding compara-

tively low sex differentials in rural outmigration -- as shown by the

average total migration index (TMI) forfive countries in the region

(see Table 1). According to this index, Turkey has the greatest ex-

tent of sex differential in outmigration, which is heavily male

Figure 5. Deviations of the "Observed" Rural Female to Male Ratio from the
"Expected" Female to Male Ratio for the Middle East by Country and by Five Year Age
105 Deviations from expected
100 rural ratio of women per
100 men.
85 ........ Iran 1971
80 -ooooo Iraq 1973
SLebanon 1970
75 ==== Syria 1970
70 -- Turkey 1967
45 \
I \
40- I
35-- \

25 I o
+(MMI) 20 I c0
oo o

.10 0 / o. *

0 1 o -- -o ____.___, -

-15 -

-(FMI) -20 o 00

.25 -o
-30 -
.35 -
-40 -
45 I I I I I I Five Year .-- -
15-19 20-24 25-29 30-34 35-39 40-44 45-49 50-54 55-59 60.64 Age Groups

Source: Rural Population data for the "observed" sex ratios were obtained from the UN Demographic Yearbook. 1976 Date noted for
each country refers to year data were collected Data for the "expected" sex ratios were derived from the US Bureau of the
Census estimated life table values
Note: Positive deviations fiom the "expected" sex ratio indicate male dominated rural out-migration (MMI). negative deviations
reveal female dominated rural out-migration (FMI)

dominated while Iran shows the least amount of sex differential
rural outmigration.

As it can be observed in Figure 5, it is harder to identify

consistentage specific patterns of sex differential rural outmigra-

tion for this region than,for instance,it is for Africa or Central

America. It may well be that the absence of a regional pattern is due

to the small number of cases (countries). An additional problem with

interpreting the Middle Eastern sex differential rates is that they

are based on Census data collected prior to the oil related labor

migration of the 1970s. This labor migration has probably altered

substantially the sex differentials in rural outmigration.

Given these data limitations, the more consistent regional trends

are male dominated rural outmigration between the ages 25 to 34 for

five countries (Iran being an exception) and female dominated rural

outmigration from age 45 onwards also for five countries (Turkey being

an exception in this case). This latter finding is probably reflect-

ing outmigration of widows while the former is a function of labor

related male migration.

Iran shows a small but quite consistent pattern of female domi-

nated outmigration across age groups. The urban/rural ratios ad-

ditionally show rural to urban migration of both men and women especial-

5/ The urban/rural ratios for Turkey indicate higher male than
female migration to the cities. However, the gap between the
two is smaller than is indicated by the MMI and FMI of this
country. The small urban/rural ratios for males may reflect
heavy male outmigration from urban areas to other countries --
men who are replaced by male migrants from rural areas.

6_/ However, this may well be a function of high female under-
enumeration in the rural areas of this country.


ly between the ages of 30 to 54, which probably indicates family out-


The urban/rural ratios for the other countries in the region

also show rural to urban migration for both sexes in the middle age

groups. However, the age ranges in which men and women are most apt

to migrate differ from country to country.

Table la: Sex Differentials in Outmigration from Rural Areas in Third World

Countries by Region and Indicating Total (TMI) Female-Dominated (FMI) and


(MMI) Outmiqration


x (SD)







Libyan Arab Republic




South Africa

Southern Rhodesia



187 (123)














59 (45)














128 (132)













Source: United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, 1977.
Demographic Yearbook 1976. (Table 7); and United States Bureau
of the Census, c. 1960-1975. Country Demographic Profiles for:
Kenya, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Nepal, Philippines,
Thailand, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama,
Brazil, and Chile.
a/ TMi = (FMI + MMI1. For each country FMI values are the sum over five year
age groups between the ages 15-64 of the observed negative deviations from the
expected number of rural women per 100 rural men. MI1 values are the sum over
five year age groups between the ages 15-64 of the observed positive deviations
from the expected number of rural women per 100 rural men.



Table la(Continued): Sex Differentials in Outmigration from Rural Areas
in Third World Countries by Region and Indicating Total (TMI), Female-
Dominated (FMI), and Male-Dominated (IMI) Outmigration



x (SD) 75 (29) 21 (18) 54 (38)

Bangladesh 54 11 43

India 72 18 54

Indonesia 101 13 88

Korea 59 25 34

Malaysia 80 32 48

Nepal 138 1 137

Pakistan 70 32 38

Philippines 64 57 7

Thailand 38 0 38


7 (SD) 103 (23) 49 (17) 55 (37)

Iran 76 64 12

Iraq 122 57 65

Lebanon 81 51 30

Syria 111 53 58

Turkey 127 19 108

Source: Ibid.


Table 1 a(Continued): Sex Differentials in Outmigration from Rural Areas
in Third World Countries by Region and Indicating Total (TMI), Female-
Dominated (FMI), and Male-Dominated (MMI) Outmigration





x (SD) 111 (43) 95 (49) 14 (24)

Costa Rica 104 104 0

Cuba 200 200 0

Dominican Republic 142 135 7

El Salvador 74 60 14

Guatemala 82 73 9

Haiti 114 53 61

Honduras 59 59 0

Mexico 78 78 0

Nicaragua 79 76 3

Panama 160 160 0 .

Puerto Rico 116 51 65


x (SD) 110 (65) 94 (77) 16 (33)

Bolivia 113 96 17

Brazil 134 134 0

Chile 235 235 0

Ecuador 103 103 0

Guyana 97 5 92

Paraguay 63 62 1

Peru 28 23 5

Source: Ibid

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b. International Migration:

There are pronounced data limitations which severely hinder a

satisfactory description of women's involvement in international mi-


1. Sex specific data are scarce and unreliable;

2. When available these data do not distinguish between mi-

gration of autonomous women and migration of dependent


3. These data are based upon the immigrant stock, rather than

emigrant stock, immigrant and/or emigrant flows.

4. Available stock data on immigrants do not reflect migrant

characteristics such as age, labor force participation,

incomes, types of employment and recency of migration.

5. Comparative data on the stock or flow characteristics of

internal and international immigrants are lacking.

6. Most immigration statistics on women do not incorporate

breakdowns by region, ethnic group or national origin, nor

do they always distinguish between tourists and migrants.

This problem is particularly visible with regard to emigra-

tion statistics.

7. When number of migrants are given for a specific time period,

it is difficult to interpret the data. For instance, when

for a given country total migrants for the period 1960-70

are specified as "x", it is unclear whether "x" excludes

migrants from previous periods, whether it is a yearly aver-

age flow or if it is the cumulative stock (excluding returns).

8. Although the data compiled by labor importing developed

countries are more detailed, they cover the migrant female

workers more consistently than they do migrant dependent


9. Even in the case of migration statistics of developed coun-

tries only rough estimates for illegal migrants are avail-

able, and such estimates are not sex-specific.

The general belief that women's participation in international

migration is not significant can now be challenged. Women not only

join the labor migration movements in significant numbers autonomously

but also accompany their families, and join the labor force immediately

upon arrival or later. For instance, between 1960 and 1974, 1,512,200

migrants arrived in the US from just three Latin American countries:
Cuba, Mexico and the West Indies (U.N. Forthcoming). -More than

half (52%.) of thesemi grants were-women. The labor force participation

of the women over 16 years of age was 48%. To give yet another illustra-

tion based upon Table 3, twelve developing countries supplied 108,738

women to three developed countries in the periods specified.

7/ If illegal migration could have been included, this figure would
have been much higher.

Immigrants to Australia, Canada and USA from a

Selected Number of Develooina



South Africa




Total # of
immigrants (000)






Sex ratio






Total # of
females (000)



11 .8



Labor force b

To Canada


Hong Kong





West Indies


Hong Kong





-/ The sex ratios used in
males per 100 females.

2/ As percentage of women

this section are obtained by calculating

over 16 years of age.

the number of

Source: Based upon statistics included in U.N.,Trends and Characteristics of Internationa'
Migration Since 1950, Forthcoming.







































I ....

The Handbook of International Data on Women (Boulding et al, 1976)

offers female indices for long term immigration and emigration based upon the

1970 UN Demographic Yearbook. Long term migrants were defined as people

leaving their countries for more than a year during the period 1962-1969.

The index designed by Boulding et al showed the percentage of women among

all migrants. Accordingly, maximum, minimum, and mean female participa-

tion by continent were calculated for 44 countries.

The regional indexes are given in Table 4 to illustrate the extent of

female participation in international migration. For instance, in Africa,

where female participation in international migration is a highly neglected

phenomena in the literature, 34 per cent of all recorded immigrants in

African countries were women. Additionally, 43 per cent of all emigrants
leaving African countries for residence in another country for more than

a year were women.

Although these data are used primarily as a way of illustrating

country differences, the wide variations in the magnitude of international

migration may further hinder the usefulness of the data. For instance,

while in Trinidad 71 per cent of all migrants are women, they add to a

total of 50 women. The absolute number of women involved in Cyprus is

9 while in the United States it is 231,825. The Federal Republic of

Germany, on the other hand, has a relatively low female participation

in immigration (36 per cent), but such a rate involves 229,326 women.

There are significant regional variations in women's participation

in international migration. However, such variation is reduced when the

recency of a given country's involvement in such migration is taken into

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    consideration. During the initial phases of labor movements from one

    country to another, female participation is often low. At subsequent

    phases, however, this participation increases due both to autonomous

    and to dependent female emigration.

    A comparison of immigration and emigration data yields significant

    differences in the magnitude of international population movements as a

    whole (U.N. Forthcoming). The most important reason for the differences

    in these statistics is that immigration figures refer to the stock of

    migrants while emigration figures are expressed yearly. As an example of

    these differences, in total there are approximately 215,000 Turkish
    migrant women workers abroad, whereas in 1978 the total number of female

    emigrant workers were just a few hundred.

    As far as the push factors are concerned, there are no basic /

    differences between the internal and international migration of women.

    Economic needs are the main cause of departure for external labor markets.

    The examination of the pull factors, however, will yield a critical

    difference: often, the migration of women, whether employed or dependent,

    is controlled by explicit policies of the host countries. Depending upon

    these policies, the extent and nature of the labor force participation of

    immigrant women differs, both cross-sectionally and historically.

    In West Germany, as well as in the remaining labor importing countries

    of Western Europe, more detailed statistics (surveys and censuses) are

    available for migrant men and women of different nationalities. These

    statistics reveal population characteristics of the migrant groups (sex,

    age, marital status), as well as more detailed characteristics of the

    workers (sex, age, length of residence, sector and type of emp1:-:;ent,

    unemployment status, housing conditions, location of child, motivations,

    return patterns and intentions). Indeed, many of the survey statistics avail-

    able for foreign workers in Europe incorporate a comparison of the two sexes.

    But the main focus is on the workers rather than on the population in general.

    For the purpose of this report, however, we have not gone into a survey of

    this literature. Nor have we compiled the various statistics on foreign

    populations available through the host countries. Similarly, we have not

    reviewed the existing immigration literature on the foreign populations in

    the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. As these provide very extensive

    coverage of women migrants, further research utilizing the resources should

    be pursued. in what follows, we present an effort to illustrate some of the

    major inter- and intracontinental trends in international migration of women

    as a framework and starting point for further research.

    Having reviewed some of the general trends and data problems a very

    brief description of the regional patterns of female international migration

    will be given.

    Africa. In Africa, the greatest number of emigrants originate from

    North Africa and, particularly, from the Mahgreb countries--Algeria, Morocco,

    and Tunisia. An estimated 1.4 million people from these countries were

    living in Europe in 1974 (U.N., Forthcoming). The sex ratio for Mahgreb

    migrants was high in all age groups over 15,'as is typical for Africa. In

    some of the receiving African countries, the effects of male dominated migra-

    tion can already be seen. For instance, the recent flow of workers from

    Mahgreb countries to Libya raised the sex ratio in the latter country from

    108 in 1964 to 114 in 1973.
    8/ The sex ratios have been improving in Africa's emigration countries. For
    instance, Mauritius has had significant emigration during the 1960s and 1970s
    which was characterized by a high sex ratio during the initial phases but which
    proceeded into family migration in the latter half of the 1960s, thus improving
    its sex ratio. This indicates a high rate of female migration in the 1970s.

    Intra-continental migration in Africa has greater significance than

    inter-continental migration. Because African states often divide tribes,

    much of the migration appears to be inter-regional and, sometimes, intra-

    tribal. Although the migratory movements follow rules set during the

    colonial times, some of the new states have set new rules restricting

    the type and duration of cross-boundary migrations for economic and

    political reasons. These seasonal and fluctuating movements are generally
    male dominated. The sex ratios for some of the African States

    show that Uganda, Ghana, South Africa, Southern Rhodesia and the

    United Republic of Tanzania receive the largest number of migrants.

    Malawi and Togo, where the sex ratio of the migrant stock favor women,
    are exceptions to the African pattern (Table 4a).

    Because individual countries follow different practices vis-a-vis

    immigration, age specific sex ratios manifest visible differences. For

    instance, the 'ex-age pyramid of foreign-born Africans in South Africa

    provides an example of labor migration in an extreme form with practically

    no accompanying family members... Since the custom is to recruit male

    workers for short-term contracts and then replace them with new migrants,

    the high percentage of male foreign-born in the 20-24 and 25-29 age old

    group are not surprising." (UN, Forthcoming; 220)

    The percentage of immigrants under 15 years of age from other African

    countries was 16 in Ghana, 10.2 in Southern Rhodesia, 27.1 in Zambia and

    1.2 in South Africa. These figures clearly show a family oriented migra-

    tion to Zambia as opposed to a labor oriented migration to South Africa

    (Table 4b).

    TABLE 4a: Male and Female Immigrants in Selected Countries around 1965

    in in Males per
    (000's) (000's) 100 Females
    Males Females

    Africa (foreign born populations)

    Gambia (1963) 20.7 14.9 139

    Ghana (1970) 210.8 139.0 152

    Kenya (1969) 86.6 72.1 120

    Liberia (1962) 19.6 12.0 163

    Malawi (1966) 143.5 151.0 95

    Senegal (1960) 99.0 70.7 140

    South Africa (1970) 443.0 47.1 941

    South Rhodesia (1969) 240.5 99.0 243

    Swaziland (1966) 20.4 19.2 106

    Togo (1970) 69.3 74.3 93

    Uganda (1969) 462.1 289.6 160

    U. K. Tanzania (1967) 244.5 207.2 118

    Zambia (1969) 104.2 90.8 115

    SUB-TOTAL 2,161.2 1,266.9 127

    Immigrants per Country 166.2 97.4

    TABLE 4a (Continued)

    in in Males per
    (000's) (000's) 100 Females
    Males Females


    Bahrain (1971) 26.5 11.3 234

    Hong-Kong (1971) 874 842.1 104
    Kuwait (1971) 244.4 146.9 166
    Malaysia (1970) 422.4 342.0 123

    Nepal (1971) 123.5 214.0 58

    Singapore )1970) 276.0 252.1 109

    Sri Lanka (1963) 152.5 95.7 159
    Thailand (1970) 213.7 135.9 157

    SUB-TOTAL 2,333.0 2.040.0 139

    Immigrants per Country 291.6 255.6

    in in Males per Females froi
    (000's) (000's) 100 Females other Latin
    Males Females American

    Latin America
    Argentina (1970) 1,151.8 1,041.5 111 127.5

    Brazil (1970) 671.4 557.8 120 35.0

    Venezuela (1971) 318.9 277.6 115 120.0

    SUB-TOTAL 2,142.1 1,876.9 114 282.5
    Immigrants per
    Country 714.0 625.6 94.1

    TABLE 4b: Age and Sex-specific Long-term Emigration from Selected Countries


    per 100


    Angola (1972)

    Botswana (1971)

    Mauritius (1971)

    South Africa (1970)

    South Rhodesia (1970)

    Total Females (14,480)




















    Latin America

    Costa Rica (1971)

    Trinidad and Tabago

    Total Females (38,047)















    8,120 -



    Source: (Compiled from UN (n.d.) Emigration Statistics)
    a) Only countries indicating long-term emigrants are chosen
    b) Developed countries have been excluded

    On the whole, emigration from Africa is male dominated. However,

    sex ratios are lower among North African migrants in European countries

    and the rate of female labor force participation is highest among them.

    There is a concentration of migration in France with migrant women

    occupying the low skilled factory and service jobs. Informal sector

    domestic employment is also widespread. Few African women migrate to

    Libya or to other oil producing Middle East countries, either as workers

    or as dependents. Migration to other African countries is also res-

    tricted, both in volume and in nature: when women migrate, it is often

    as dependents rather than as workers.

    Latin America. Five types of international migration have been

    observed in Latin America (Breton, 1976). First, there are frontier

    workers who are fully integrated into the labor market of a foreign

    country but still live at home. Second, there are seasonal agricultural

    workers migrating for several months at a time--often irregularly,

    depending upon labor needs. Third, there are short-term temporary

    migrants who leave their homes for several months each year. Fourth,

    there are long-term temporary workers who usually work in a country

    for several years under special bilateral agreements and, fifth, there

    are long-term or permanent workers who settle with their families in

    a country while maintaining their own nationality. Over all, the

    migration of unskilled workers leaving one rural area for another


    Intra- and intercontinental migration in South America, which has

    been small in magnitude compared to overseas migration, has increased

    since 1950 as a result of population growth, widening disparities in

    economic development and/or improved communications. "In 1975, the

    total number of intracontinental migrants and their families settled

    or working abroad is thought to have been of the order of 5 million,

    of whom rather more than 3 million were migrant workers properly

    speaking--of both sexes and all ages--around 400,000 were frontier

    workers, and over 1,500,000 were members of their families." (Breton,


    Focusing on the total international migrant population in Latin

    America, it is observed that they are predominantly in the 30-40 age

    group and they are older than both the internal migrants on the con-

    tinent and the international migrants in Europe. Among the inter-

    national migrants, 55 per cent are men. Additionally, there were

    country differences in the sex ratios favoring, for instance, females

    in Venezuela. "There is often a family marked propensity to emigrate

    among the unmarried, but in the high emigration countries and those

    where the phenomenon assumes the proportion of agricultural settlement

    in the true sense the great majority of migrants are married." (Breton,

    1976:344). As expected, the education and training of international

    migrants are lower than the national averages of the host country, but

    their labor force participation is significantly higher than that of

    the natives.

    Many of the Latin American countries, and particularly Argentina

    and Brazil, received large numbers of migrants of European origin (Table 4a);

    These migrants differ from migrants from other Latin American countries in

    many respects, including their sex composition (U.N., Forthcoming). Although

    such comparisons will not be detailed here, we should point out that

    there are significant country differences. In the 1970s Argentine males

    predominated among migrants from other Latin American countries and

    females predominated among recent Spanish immigrants. The reverse holds

    for Venezuela for the same period. Again, these could be characteristic

    of certain periods and not necessarily of consistent trends.

    Another significant international migration pattern of Latin

    America is migration to the USA. This pattern has changed its character

    over the years from a male dominated movement to a female dominated one.

    The participation of Latin American women in all types of inter-

    national migration is a significant and widespread phenomenon, especially

    when compared to the behavior of females in the Middle East and Africa.

    In addition, the labor force participation of Latin American women in

    other countries is also high. The jobs held by these women vary with

    the type of migration and with the type of structure of the host economy.

    Asia. International migration which originates from Asia also has

    a long tradition. Countries such as India and Pakistan have been con-

    tinuous sources of migrants for many decades. Studies reveal little

    about the Asian migrant women, their numbers, characteristics, and

    problems. It seems, however, that a large bulk of the Asian emigrant

    women leaving their countries for Europe, Great Britain, the USA, and

    Canada become permanent settlers in these countries (Table 3 ).

    Added to these traditional migrant groups is a significant number of

    women from Asian countries affected by wars. Both of these two broad

    categories of women have been left out of this paper, since a satis-

    factory coverage of their problems would require intensive research

    in different directions than those of this report.

    Briefly, the predominance of males is also observed among Asian

    emigrants to other countries, especially among the migrants from

    India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, and Sri Lanka. The reverse is

    true for recent migrants from Malaysia. However, even among the male

    dominated movements, the female ratio has been increasing. The sex

    ratios of immigrants in Southeast Asia, for instance, have improved,

    particularly after the limitations these countries have put on immigra-
    tion. Many Asian nations accommodate large numbers of female migrants from

    other countries. For instance, in the 1960s, there were a total of 2,040,000

    female immigrants in seven Asian countries, an average of 251,600 in each of

    them (Table 4a). The sex ratios were high, with the exception of Nepal. The

    index of femaleness in long-term emigration also showed a far greater variation

    in Asia than in other continents (see Table 4).

    However, research which goes beyond simple ratio statistics is

    particularly needed for Asia, as the intensity of inter- and intra-

    continental migration of many Asian countries has already reached

    significant proportions and is likely to gain further momentum as

    political pressures increase.

    Middle East. Recent international migration trends within the

    Middle East are due largely to the 1973-74 oil price increase and the

    concomitant increase in the demand for labor within the oil rich

    countries of the region (Choucri, 1977). In six oil producing countries

    in 1975, there were a total of 1,236,800 migrant workers from Arab

    countries, 291,200 from Asia, and 86,900 from Iran, Turkey and Africa.

    Including the Europeans (2 per cent of all migrant workers), these

    oil producing countries employed over 1.6 million workers from other

    countries. "In 1975, there were over two-and-a-half million Arab

    workers and their dependents living in Arab States... In early 1975...

    there were 1,570,000 Arab workers living abroad... and over 2,500,000

    migrants for employment in the Arab Near East." (Birks and Sinclair,


    Migration to the oil producing countries is predominantly male

    oriented. The total sex-ratios of migrants to Bahrain and Kuwait is

    234 and 166 males per 100 females, respectively. An extremely large

    sex ratio is found for Iranians (978) in Kuwait, which indicates that

    almost no Iranian women migrated to this country. Also apparent is

    that few females from Oman have moved to the nearby Gulf States, as

    indicated by the high female sex ratios. (See Table 5). Birks and Sinclair

    (1977b)give several reasons for the low number of females migrating

    to these countries from Oman. First, housing is difficult to obtain

    for families in oil producing regions and, when found, is expensive.

    Sex-SDecific Migration to Two Oil Producing Countries

    Number of Number of
    Receiving Sending Male Migrants Female Migrants Males per
    Country Country (in 000's) (in 000's) 100 Females








































    11 .3






















    Source: U.N. Trends and
    forthcoming. P. 239.

    Characteristics of International

    MiaratioW Since ].950.

    - -

    --- ti n Si c ]-.950,

    Table 5 :

    Second, women generally do not migrate to areas which are close in

    proximity while males more often commute to work on a weekly or short-

    term basis.

    While the sex ratios for Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt indicate male

    dominated migration trends, they are far more equitable than other

    Arab countries. In fact, according to a USAID report (1977) in 1975

    there were as many Palestinian and Jordanian females as males in

    Kuwait. This is due to the fact that migrants from Jordan and Lebanon

    are more apt to be permanent migrants and, therefore, bring their

    wives and children with them.(Clarke, 1977). Family movement to Kuwait

    also occurs among Egyptians, but it is more common among professional

    and highly skilled migrants than among lower skilled migrants who are

    more likely to migrate alone (Birks and Sinclair, 1978a).

    Migrants from Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt are usually preferred

    because they are generally better educated, highly trained and speak

    Arabic (Birks and Sinclair, 1977a). However, the oil-rich countries

    are increasingly becoming concerned about the high percentage of non-

    nationals within their borders and, therefore, are trying to dis-

    courage permanent migration as well as the migration of dependent

    family members (Clarke,1977). For this reason, more Asians are being

    recruited to work temporarily in the Gulf States.

    Between 1971 and 1977, the number of workers from Asia increased

    by 276 per cent. In this latter year, two-thirds of all foreign

    workers in Bahrain were from Asian countries--particularly from India

    and Pakistan.

    Saudi Arabia has increasingly relied on countries such as Japan

    to send skilled labor for short periods of time in an attempt to

    discourage migrants from remaining permanently. In the United Arab

    Emirates in 1976, Asians accounted for 69 per cent of the expatriate

    work force--again, mostly from India and Pakistan, but some from other

    Asian countries as well. The number of Asian workers also increased

    substantially in Kuwait in recent years, albeit, not nearly to the

    degree found in either the United Arab Emirates or Bahrain.

    There is also heavy migration among North African Arabs to Arab

    countries other than the Gulf States. For example, Egyptians are

    increasingly migrating to Jordan (approximately 6,000 were expatriates

    in 1977) to replace the Jordanian work force who have migrated to

    Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States. Interestingly, the sex ratio among

    Egyptians migrating to Jordan is 100. Apparently, Egyptian women are

    more likely to find employment in Jordan than elsewhere, which is an

    incentive for them to migrate (Birks and Sinclair, 1978a). There is a still

    larger trend of migrants leaving Egypt for the Sudan. Again, the sex ratio

    is equitable (101.4). Birks and Sinclair (1978a) state that the
    low cost of travel is an incentive for professional and skilled workers

    to bring their wives and families with them, even though employment

    opportunities for women are low in this country. Most Egyptians,

    however, migrate temporarily to Libya (between 275,000 and 380,000). There

    is no information regarding the extent to which these migrants are male. The

    movement from Tunisia to Libya is also male dominated, although smaller in scale.

    There is also migration from the Middle Eastern countries to other

    regions, particularly to Europe. Among the various Middle Eastern countries,

    Turkey has exported greater amounts of labor to Western Europe than others.

    Outmigration from this country started in the early 1960s, reached its peak in

    1972-73 and decreased significantly after the so-called energy crisis of

    November, 1974. Female participation in Turkish international migration is a

    relatively recent phenomenon as compared to that of males. Because the immigra-

    tion of dependent family members was discouraged for much of the period between

    1960 and 1979, the labor force participation rate of Turkish women abroad has

    been very high. By the time the migratory stock abroad reached its peak in the

    early 1970s, almost a quarter of all Turkish workers were women. Focusing on

    the yearly inflow the sex ratio has changed sporadically from as low as 6.6 to

    as high as 39.5 (See Table 6). But information in the stock about that per-

    centage of women in the labor force increased steadily from 6.8 per cent in

    1960 to 26 per cent in 1975 (Abadan-Unat, 1977). In addition to the working

    women abroad, the numbers of dependent wives also increased, and the great

    majority of the workers are now accompanied by their wives, whether or not

    they work. In September 1977, there were 1,118,000 Turks in West Germany

    of whom 443,100 were females. Although net immigration of the Turks to

    this country has been negative since the end of 1974, that of females has

    been positive due to family reunions. (Statistiches Bundesamt, Statistiches

    Jahrbuch 1978, Wiesbaden, 1978). For instance, in 1976 the net immigration

    of Turkish men to West Germany was -25,844 and of women +765.

    Table 6: Composition of Turkish Migration Stream by Year and Sex

    Number of Percent Migrants Percent Migrants
    Year Migrants who are male who are female

    1966 34,410 76.9 23.1
    1967 8,947 60.5 39.5
    1968 43,097 73.8 16.2
    1969 103,005 80.0 20.0
    1970 128,395 84.0 16.0
    1971 87,563 83.9 16.1
    1972 84,589 78.1 21.9
    1973 134,934 80.1 20.2
    1974 19,073 93.4 6.6
    1975 (half year) 1,796 84.4 11.6

    Source: Migration News, no. 4, 1976.

    International migrant women, when compared to all other categories

    of migrant women, are more visible-- economically, socially, and politically.

    Their problems can also be more clearly identified. However, there are

    significant differences between regions in this regard. The visibility of

    migrant women from the Middle East and Northern Africa in the Western

    European countries has been amply documented. Such is also true for the

    inter-continental movements of the Asian and Latin American women. Yet, as

    we have pointed out, women's share in intra-continental migration is steadily

    increasing. Whether such a trend in international migration makes the

    immigrants less visible is yet to be studied together with its implications.

    However, the greater visibility of international migrants should make this

    group particularly attractive for policy makers.

    Because there are many different types of international migration

    (seasonal, fluctuating, permanent, temporary, inter- and intracontinental)

    it is difficult to make generalizations concerning the socio-economic charac-

    teristics of the female migrants. A focus on the migrant stock in Europe

    from the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia shows a heavier concentration

    in the 20-30 year age group. The age selectivity of the host labor markets

    is also reflected in some of the small scale studies of returnees. In this

    type of migration is predominantly a labor migration, men and women are

    allowed to enter the host countries at their early working ages and are

    pushed out of the market before they become 40. For instance, the examina-

    tion of the age pyramid for Turkish workers abroad shows that less than 5%

    of the immigrants are over 45 years of age. The dependent population below

    15 is also small in comparison with the working age group. The age

    structure of the returnees as compared with the stock reveals an older


    The limited evidence on international migration yields stronger

    selectivity to be at play. For instance, international migrants in

    Europe, as compared with internal migrants of a given country, are younger,

    more educated, more skilled, with greater working experience, with

    greater exposure to urbanization (i.e. originating to a lesser degree

    from rural areas). The selectivity is particularly strong for women,

    not so much when compared to migrant men but especially, when compared

    to the overall characteristics of native women (Kudat, et al, 1976).

    The general observation that migrant women are greater participants

    of the labor force than native women also needs further qualification

    in the case of international migration to Western Europe or other developed

    areas of the World where female participation in the labor force is high.

    For instance, what distinguishes migrant women from native women in

    Europe is not so much their rate of economic participation (which is lower

    in the former case for some ethnic groups) but the type of participation.

    In both cases, excluding illegal migration, labor force participation is

    mainly in the formal sector. But migrant women go directly into the

    lowest paying, lowest skill industrial and service jobs, with little or

    no previous training and with little on-the-job training opportunities.

    Those illegal migrants and wives are also taking marginal domestic

    employment. Studies based upon the European experience also show women

    to be the first targets for dismissals in economic crises. Moreover,

    cultural and language barriers, as well as their lack of previous work

    and unionization experience, make it harder for women in international

    markets to join labor struggles or to obtain unemployment benefits even

    when they are legally allowed.

    The discussions presented on the effects of male migration on

    women left behind are largely applicable to the women left behind by

    international migrants. Although the remittances may be greater, it is

    unclear whether they are able to receive the savings directly. The

    effects of greater distance and longer periods of separation on the

    regularity of remittances are also unknown

    Nevertheless, the migration of women across national boundaries

    is thus becoming a widespread phenomenon even in continents where the

    rate of female participation is low. The available information also

    indicates the increasing labor force participation of international

    migrant women. However, there is very little information on the living

    and working patterns of these women, and little comparative evidence

    showing the effects of the immigration and emigration patterns of these

    countries. Since the magnitude of international population movements

    (which primarily involves low skilled labor) is likely to increase and

    since problems of integration for migrant women are reported to be

    numerous, research and policy which focuses on international migrants

    is long overdue. Such research should consider the implications for

    development of the return migration of men, and, especially, of women.

    These women contribute to their countries economies through their


    remittances as men do. They also help in the diffusion of new technology

    and other innovations. However, women differ in a critical dimension

    from men; the rate of return migration among women is lower and consequently,

    many of the effects of international migration that emerge as a result of

    returnees to either the country of origin or, more importantly, to the

    community of origin, are less likely to be manifested differently for

    women than for men.



    A universal feature of migration is that it varies with age and,

    particularly in the case of women, with stages in the life cycle. A

    review of country-specific studies enables us to identify three age

    groups at which mobility among women appears to be the highest: the

    adolescent, the early twenties and the over 50+ age groups. These

    differ somewhat from the general age patterns of male migrants; for

    women, the age patterns also vary according to destination.

    It is important to note that the age at which women migrate and

    the age distribution of the stock of migrants in any given area are

    two different concepts, but available data are not detailed enough

    to allow us to distinguish between the two. Generally, the older a

    migration process, the more similar is the age distribution of

    migrants and native residents. When a migration stream is new, the

    age composition of the migrant stock is skewed; as more people stay

    in the receiving areas the distribution becomes more even.

    Those migrating to urban areas, particularly to capital cities,

    are predominantly women in their late teens and early twenties, which

    may reflect the fact that young (single) girls can more easily secure

    employment--as domestic laborers--than can young men of the same age.

    This pattern is often thought of as the Latin American experience, but

    that is only because there is more data available for that region. As

    countries in other regions begin to focus on the migration issue, it

    is highly probable that similar patterns will emerge.

    The overriding tendency for female migrants to be younger than male

    migrants is borne out by studies in Colombia, Jamaica, El Salvador,

    Brasil, Bangladesh, and Thailand. For instance, in Colombia in 1970,

    56 per cent of all migrants to the capital, Bogota, were women, and

    young women outnumbered men in the 10-19 age group by a ratio of ten to

    six. This age group accounts for 38.4 per cent of all females in

    migration during 1970-75 (Lubell and McCallum, 1978). In fact, women pre-

    dominated in all migrant age cohorts except the 30 to 39 age group, and

    54 per cent of all migrants to other urban areas were women. In movements

    to rural areas, by contrast, men predominated in all age groups, without

    exception (Martine, 1975; Lewin and Romani, 1977). In rural Mexico, women

    typically leave for the city between the ages of 15 and 19 (Weist, 1973).

    In Chile, 50 per cent of the women coming into Santiago were between the ages

    of 14 and 25; among these 70 per cent arrived on their own (i.e., were not

    dependents) (Elton, 1974). In the capital cities of Jamaica and El Salvador,

    the mean age of women migrants is between 15 and 19; for men, it is 20 and 24.

    A study in Brazil that traced migration streams to six major cities (metro-

    politan areas) showed that women migrants in Sao Paulo were typically three

    years younger (20.3) than the men (23.3).

    Most female migrants to urban Bangladesh are between the ages of 15 and

    19, and in that age range they outnumber the male migrants. The female rate

    continues to be high for ages 20-24. At most other ages, the number of male

    migrants is greater (Ruzika and Chowdhury, 1978).

    Perhaps a better way of demonstrating the significance of the

    effect of the youthfulness of a migrant population upon the age structure

    of an area is to examine the potentially active age cohorts. Lubell

    and McCallum (1978) in comparing the age distribution of native and

    migrant males and females in Bogota, Colombia, point out that in the

    potentially active 15-29 age group, 40 percent are migrant women and

    only 20 percent are native resident women. There are also twice as

    many migrant women than native women in the 30-44 age group.

    Goldstein's analysis of the Thai data (1973) allows for further

    specification regarding the age selectivity factor in relation to

    different types of mobility experienced by men and women. In general,

    Thai women migrate at an older age than do Latin American and Bangladesh

    women--that is, in their mid- and late twenties. In some instances,

    women migrants are older than their male counterparts. It is not possible

    to ascertain whether this later age reflects migration taking place

    with families instead of migration by individuals.

    Among rural-urban migrants in Thailand the highest percentage of

    women are in the 20-24 age group, the next highest are 25-34, and after

    that the number of female migrants drops drastically until older ages.

    The same pattern is observed for men.

    Peak migration from rural areas into the capital city area, Bangkok,

    for men is between the ages of 20 and 34. It is highest for women in

    the 15-24 age group (Goldstein, 1973). A breakdown by marital status of

    female migrants into Bangkok shows that 44 percent are single, 52 percent

    are married, and 8 percent are widowed or divorced (Piampiti, n.d.).

    However, women who migrate from rural areas into other urban provinces

    are usually older, and there the peak migration age is 20-24.

    With respect to inter-urban mobility, the levels of female

    mobility are 31 percent for ages under 15 and 56 percent for ages

    20-24, declining to 25 percent among those 45 and over (Goldstein, 1973).

    Inter-urban migration occurs most frequently for Bangkok women at ages

    25-34; for women in other urban areas, the peak is reached earlier,

    at ages 20-24. Goldstein interprets such movements as reflecting

    change in residence at marriage. Women in Bangkok tend to marry at a

    later age than women in other urban locations, which would explain

    the differentials in the peak ages (Goldstein, 1973).

    There is increasing evidence that women migrate at both extremes

    / of the age hierarchy. In some countries they are more numerous than

    men in both the youngest and the oldest cohorts; in some they outnumber

    men in the oldest cohorts only. The female/male difference is parti-

    cularly accentuated in the 50 and over cohorts, To

    migrate at this age is a distinctive female characteristic; it is

    particularly striking in moves to capital city areas (Colombia, Mexico,

    Nigeria, Thailand).

    In contrast to the men migrating to Ibadan, most women migrating

    S on their own are nearing 50, are widowed or divorced, and have functioned

    as heads of household (Sudarkasa, 1977). Migration rates clearly

    increase among rural women moving to Bangkok at the upper end of the

    age hierarchy, i.e., for women aged 65 and over. The same is not true

    for men. Older women (65+) also display high rates (25%) of intra-

    urban mobility. The patterns reflect movements associated with widow-

    hood: women leave their homes to live with their children. Female

    migrants to Bogota outnumber males in all age groups except the 30-39

    cohort; but the sex differential is particularly salient in the 50 and

    over age groups. These differentials in the older age groups are

    interesting. It has been speculated that they are due to mortality

    differentials by sex in areas of origin and that women, particularly

    after they are widowed, join family members who had previously migrated

    or seek employment in domestic service when their children become

    independent (Martine, 1975b).

    Marital Status

    The most common practice in the migration literature has been

    to treat the status of female migrants as "accompanying wives"--assuming

    that women were involved in family migration only--and/or to emphasize

    the temporary migration of young, single, economically active women

    who show high participation in urban domestic service occupations. The

    autonomous migration of women has been largely ignored. In order to

    research the extent of its magnitude, information sources are needed

    that identify women migrants by age, marital status, and fertility

    both in their current place of residence and at the time they migrate.

    Such data would yield insight into:

    a) the extent of autonomous female migration; and,

    b) the influence that marital status per se may have either in

    inducing or deterring migration, depending on the stage of life

    cycle involved.

    On the basis of the limited information that is available,

    however, we can make some statements about the marital and household

    status of women migrants:

    1) Men and women who migrate to urban areas are predominantly

    young and single. The larger the city of destination, the greater

    the tendency for women migrants to be single. Among those who move

    to rural areas, the men are again usually single, but the women are

    more likely to move in this direction when accompanying their spouses

    (Martine, 1975b).

    2) Recent findings on the participation of women aged 50 and over

    in the migration process are significant. Widowed women in particular

    surface as highly mobile in both rural-urban and inter-urban migration.

    The same is probably true of divorced women, who may in fact migrate

    at an earlier age than widows. Unfortunately, census categories often

    combine widows and divorced and separated women into one category;

    because the widowed tend to be more numerous in absolute numbers

    than the divorced (or separated), the tendency is to single out the

    group's behavior pattern as typical of widows only. At the same time,

    in countries where data is disaggregated by marital status there are

    very high percentages of divorced women among migrants. This may only

    be partly due to higher incidence of divorce in cities, but it also

    reflects the predominance of divorced women in internal migration

    (Youssef, 1973).

    3) Information is not widely available on the distribution by

    sex and migration status of heads of household. Some of the data

    suggests that female headship, whatever the reason for it, is a con-

    dition sufficient to bring about the migration of women. There is a

    strong tendency for female heads of household--especially those in

    older age cohorts--to be associated with migration to urban areas in

    Mexico (Weist, 1973), Thailand (Goldstein, 1973), and Ghana (Sudarkasa,

    1977). Yet there are other indications in the younger age cohorts that

    single women (mothers) who head households may also play a vital role in

    the rural-urban migratory process. There is specific reference to the

    exit of single rural women because of pregnancy (Castro et al, 1978).

    4) Studies among young single female migrants in the city indicate

    that the majority do not intend to return to the point of origin (Castro

    et al, 1978). This is reflected in several instances in the low repre-

    sentation of single women in return-migration.

    5) Capital city areas are particularly attractive to women (and

    men) who do not have family ties--the single, the widowed, the divorced,

    and th separated --although by far the largest number of migrants are
    single.- A study in Bangkok shows that 44 per cent of all women migrants

    were single, eight per cent were divorced and widowed. The young unmarried

    come to the city for socioeconomic reasons and rely on family and friends

    who already live in the city (Piampiti, n.d.). In Kingston, Jamaica, the

    majority of women migrants are single. They have come to the capital alone

    9/This would have enabled us to estimate the magnitude of female heads of
    household as participants in the migratory flow.

    10/Both the Latin American and the Thai patterns indicate that migrants
    into capital city areas have higher proportions of unmarried (single,
    separated, or widowed) men and women than does the resident population
    of either the capital city or other urban areas (Martine, 1975: Goldstein,

    and depend on the income they earn for subsistence. They remain single,

    even after giving birth to several children (Standing, 1978d).

    Of the women aged 14 and over who go to Santiago, 49 per cent are

    by themselves; of those who go to Lima, 62 per cent are alone. Most (70

    per cent) are single and, in each city, are dependent upon what they earn

    for survival (Elizaga, 1972). The smaller the place of origin, the greater

    the probability that single women migrate to the capital by themselves.

    Among migrants coming from areas with less than 5,000 inhabitants, 59 per

    cent in the case of Santiago and 62 per cent in the case of Lima had come

    on their own (Elton, 1974).


    "It is frequently assumed that higher education per se may

    serve as a stimulus to migration, both through the greater per-

    ception of new vistas as a result of more education and because

    of the need to move to a different location where special skills

    resulting from more education can be better utilized." (Goldstein,


    The data available do not support the assumption that level of

    migration is directly related to level of education insofar as women are

    concerned. Rather, they point to a low level of selectivity, probably

    because most migrants from rural areas, particularly those who are

    women, have not had much education.

    Two types of data sets are available, although each is limited in

    its country coverage. There is some information on the educational

    status of women migrants and how it compares to male migrants and to

    native women in the receiving area. The general picture that emerges

    from these comparisons is that the average education of migrants is

    low and that for women migrants it is lower than for male migrants.

    While the difference between the education of recent migrant males and

    that of native urban resident males is slight, discrepancy between the

    two corresponding groups of women is considerable. Specific country studies

    in Chile (Bustamante, 1978), India (Zachariah, n.d.), Brazil (Castro

    et al, 1978), Indonesia (Sethuraman, 1976), and Turkey (Kudat,et al, 1976)

    confirm the educationally disadvantaged position of the female migrant

    in relation to her male counterpart. Among lifetime migrants in India,

    58 per cent of the women, as compared to 35 per cent of the men, are

    illiterate. Among those who are educated, male migrants have received

    significantly more education than women migrants.

    Singh (1978a:352) reports for India that:

    "...national level data regarding educational levels and

    work force participation rates of migrants reveal that the

    majority of female workers are illiterate and that there are

    practically no jobs pursued by women at all between those

    which require no education and those which require high levels

    of education. Significantly,the illiterate, unskilled migrant

    women of India seem to have greater ease in finding employment

    than those with some education."

    Singh further points out the influence of education on work among

    poor Indian migrants by comparing educational levels of workers and non-

    workers. Among males, literacy rates are similar for workers and non-

    workers (71 per cent). But among women, workers had lower literacy

    levels (46.5 per cent) than nonworkers (65.2 per cent). The percentage

    of male migrants who had acquired literacy skills outside of the formal

    educational system was higher for both workers and nonworkers (25 per

    cent and 34 per cent, respectively) than it was for both categories of

    women. For example, only 7.9 per cent of working women had become

    literate through non-formal training, as compared to 28.4 per cent of

    nonworking women. The data consistently show that it is the women with

    the least amount of education who are most likely to work (Singh, 1978a).

    The explanation for this pattern is probably not that these women are

    more likely to find work, but rather that they are willing to take any

    work that is available.

    In Lebanon, data on the educational level of migrants coming into

    Beirut and its suburbs showed significant discrepancies between the

    sexes. In 1971 among migrants aged 15-44, 20 per cent of the men and

    47 per cent of the women had not attended school (Tabarrah, 1976). In

    a study conducted in Jakarta in the early 1970s, it was noted that 75

    per cent of the migrants had less than six years of schooling, the rest

    wereilliterate. Women migrants had far lower educational levels than

    men, but this did not affect their employability or their perception of

    the beneficial aspects of migration. As was found in India, the lower

    educational level of migrants in Jakarta, the higher the probability

    of their working, and the more positive the feeling that they were

    better off than before (Sethuraman, 1976).

    The literature also points out the discrepancy in educational

    standards between migrant women and native women in the urban receiving

    area. Again, it is the migrant women who have an educational dis-

    advantage. By contrast, the comparison between educational levels of

    male migrants and those of males who are urban residents shows only

    slight differences or none at all.

    In Brazil sex differences in education are not marked among urban

    residents; in fact, in some areas, education levels for women are

    distinctly nigher than those of men. Among the low-income urban classes,

    women seem to have an educational advantage with respect to exposure to

    and/or completion of primary and secondary schooling (Castro et al, 1978).

    A comparison of educational levels of migrants and those of the urban

    resident population in various metropolitan regions of Brazil showed

    male migrants to be at a slight disadvantage to male residents only in

    Sao Paulo, whereas the discrepancy between the two groups of women was /

    considerable (Castro et al, 1978; Elton, 1974).

    In two villages in Ecuador, in which migration was found to be

    positively related to education, the educational level of migrant males

    and urban males was found to be roughly similar. Migrant women, however,

    had received significantly less education than urban women in the receiving
    area (Scrimshaw, n.d.). A comparison of the level of schooling of migrant and

    resident women aged 25-35 in Kingston, showed that 73 per cent of the

    migrant women, but only 50 per cent of the nonmigrant women,had received

    only one to three years of education. Fifty per cent of the urban resident

    women and 27 per cent of the migrants had had nine or more years of

    schooling (Standing, 1978d). In Beirut, the illiteracy rate of womcn

    migrants aged 15-44 was 47 per cent as compared to 25 per cent among the

    women urban residents (Tabarrah, 1976).

    In her analysis of Chilean data, Herold(1978) distinguishes between

    types of migrants and specific areas of urban destination and challenges

    the assumption that female migration in Latin America is characterized

    by low-status women moving to major cities where they become prime

    examples of social and economic marginality. Her data indicate that this

    V pattern applies only to migration to the capital and to some other
    cities; it is not characteristic of migration to all urban areas,

    particularly in more recent years. When educational levels are con-

    trolled for rates, there is a positive association between level of

    education and female rates of migration for all recent migrant types

    to urban destinations. In the aggregate, total recent migrants in

    Santiago show lower educational levels than the native population. The

    differential is reversed for women migrants in other urban areas, however,

    with total recent migrants having clearly higher educational levels than

    the resident population (Herold, 1978).


    / Ravenstein's principle that women who migrate usually do so over

    short distances is confirmed in some cases. It is not clear, however,

    what the influence of marital condition (rather than sex) is in explaining

    the choice of destination since there is not sufficient data on marital

    status. The data that is available in general shows that married migrants

    of either sex travel shorter distances than those who are unmarried (Castro

    et al, 1978).

    Some findings do also in'ic te theat- nn -igrate further t.`a wcmen.

    Sudarkasa, (1977) found t'i; :.o -. re ijc i. ster: Africz. in Argentina,

    :t has been found that :.;-::;. :.-- :aliy travel shorter distances on their

    fi-st cmve: \,h eczs only 17 per cent of male migrants in a recent study

    t-a'.'eel' t: areas less tihn 100 km. away, 57 per cent of the women did

    so (Connell et al, 1976). Women in Brazil predominated in intrastate

    migration; with respect to interstate migration, women outnumbered men in

    moves to urban areas (Castro et al, 1978). In India, women tend to migrate

    to areas close to their point of origin; male migrants predominate in long-

    distance moves (Zachariah, n.d.). In Colombia women outnumber men in short-

    distance moves and in long-distance moves from rural areas, while men out-

    number women in distant moves from urban areas (Perez, 1976).

    A recent stu.y in, Maila indicates a changing trend. Whereas in the

    1960s the.'e ,-ere fe'.: se.: differences among Philippine migrants in terms of

    distai'ce t; e'led ('er'y, 1974), a decade later, women in Manila dominate

    i:; mi~r-.or flc;.s ii;'cl'.'ig greater distances (Smith, 1978).

    The i. -i'-tic fcr .:n-ong far away is based on both social and

    ec:nomi: re:- s. heroesas f.' .'n m grants a specific occupation at

    des in-ticn is n~i-e i-no:rtdat than the size of the destination itself,

    f- r vw"e r.!-::-ic'-ints the size of destination is more crjticalbecause

    of the varic:y f pa s.sible occupations available. Pernia (nd.) reports
    for the Phi-lipines t--t place of destination had no significant effect
    for the Philippines that place of destination had no significant effect

    on men's decision to migrate. For single women and those who were heads

    of household, the size of place of destination was found to be significant

    at the .01 level.

    Mexican women (and men) tend to migrate to metropolitan areas and

    larger cities and avoid the smaller ones (Cornelius, 1975). Chilean

    women are more prone to migrate to large urban centers (Valparaiso and

    Santiago); whereas more men migrants go to the far removed provinces such

    as Tarapaca and Magallanes (Bustamente, 1978).

    Herold (1979) argues that it is women among the poor

    who are first movers that are attracted to the capital city areas. She

    hypothesizes that:
    "...these women would have less knowledge about alternative

    destinations and must continue to rely on the traditional

    information network which is transmitted primarily through kin

    presently residing in Santiago or that the capital continues

    to have the best job market for these women."

    However, if one takes the individual's total history of migration, a

    more complex picture evolves and one which suggests that women may be

    involved considerably more than men in a step-wise migration process, even

    over generations. This is strongly suggested by findings from El Salvador,
    Mexico, Ecuador, Chile, and Brazil, Migration histories of women migrants

    11/ Studies of Latin American migration show a step-wise migration in which
    many migrants first locate in an intermediate location. Weist (1973) maintains
    that the typical migration pattern in Mexico is "from farm or hamlet to town,
    and from town to city (principally Mexico City)..." (p. 182). Others found
    that males were more likely to migrate in a step-wise pattern than were females.
    Scrimshaw (n.d.) found that, while 46 per cent of male migrants lived in a town
    or city other than place of origin prior to moving to Quayaquil, Ecuador, this
    was true for only 32 per cent of the women who moved there. Similarly, Elton
    (1974) found that, of the migrants to San Salvador, 70 per cent of the females
    moved directly to the city while less than 63 per cent of the males did so.
    She also found that 11 per cent of the male migrants in San Salvador had pre-
    viously migrated to places that were smaller than their hometowns, but only
    5 per cent of the female migrants did so. Again, Elton pointed to economic
    opportunities as the motivating force behind this migration pattern.

    to San Salvador and Santiago indicate that rural women move to small towns

    in their first move, and in the following generation move to the capital

    areas. In each country considerably fewer females than males migrated

    directly to San Salvador and Santiago from rural areas. In San Salvador

    as many as 55 per cent of the migrant women, as compared to only 11 per

    cent of the migrant men, had lived in places smaller than their places

    of birth before moving to the capital. This is despite the fact that there

    is only a slight difference between the sexes with respect to their birth-

    place (Elton, 1974). There is an important exceptionhowever. The younger

    the rural migrant, the greater the chances that she will come directly into

    the capital city area. In Santiago, for example, among migrant women who

    fall within the mode age group (15-19) the percentage who came to the

    capital city area directly from a rural area is higher (18 per cent) than

    the corresponding percentage among the male migrants (11 per cent) who fell

    within the mode age group which for men is the 20-24 age group. Step

    migration is less frequent in Colombia. Only 35 per cent of migrants in

    Bogota had moved to some other place prior to coming to the capital city;

    51 per cent had come directly. The data does not, however, point out the

    sex differences involved (Lubell, M McCallum, 1978).

    In India, it appears that women migrants outnumber the men in small

    cities and villages; males predominate in migratory movements which

    involve long distances. Again, it is not clear to what extent this

    pattern is determined by actual consideration of the distance factor (i.e.,

    do women select small towns/villages because these are less distant from

    their place of origin?) or whether it is influenced by family migration

    (i.e., marriage migration is more common in villages and small towns)


    Each of the above factors, whether they relate to the poverty of the

    area of origin, to the perceived availability of opportunities in areas of

    destination, or to the characteristics of migrants themselves, are important.

    to understanding migration patterns, most particularly the ways in which

    female migrants differ from male migrants. Such considerations are valid

    not only for the autonomous movements of single, widowed, divorced, and

    separated women who are heads of household, but also for the women who

    migrate with or follow after their husbands.

    It is conceivable that all "push" factors and many "pull" factors

    apply equally to different types of migration--be they international,

    inter-regional, or intra/inter-urban--and that it may not be necessary

    to identify different explanatory factors for each type of migration.


    Until very recently, marriage was the main factor singled out to

    explain the migration of women. Women in the Third World migrated with

    their spouses for, it was assumed, the same reason as their husbands.

    If a woman migrated alone, it was only to follow or to find a husband

    (Elton, 1974; Thadani and Todaro, 1978). There was no room in the

    migration literature for the autonomous migration of women for motives

    other than mating, despite increasing common knowledge to the contrary.

    This largely untested attribution of "marriage only" motives to

    the migration of women is in part due to the invisibility of (or lack

    of data on) women as economic producers and an overemphasis on their

    roles as reproducers and homemakers. It naturally led scholars and

    development experts to overlook any socioeconomic significance of

    female migration and, thus, to dismiss the importance of analyzing sex

    difference in motives and determinants of migratory patterns. For ins-

    tance, in the case of India, A. Singh (1978a)argues that the well-known

    fact that the volume of female rural migration far surpassed that of

    male migration has been dismissed as a reflection of the custom of

    marrying outside a woman's village of origin.

    It is true that in developing countries many women have migrated

    and still do migrate, at least ostensibly, for marriage purposes.

    Evoking marriage, however, as the factor accounting for the moves of

    such large numbers of people can only obscure our understanding of

    the economic and social factors that affect women and men migrants

    differently. More importantly perhaps, it yields no information

    useful for policy or program formulation.

    Women themselves may report that they migrate for marriage

    reasons only because it is one of the few culturally sanctioned

    explanations or rationalizations for their autonomous migration. More

    generally, women seem to underreport the economic reasons for their

    moves. Analyzing migratory movements in Subsahara Africa from rural

    areas to primate cities, K. Little (1973) observes that, while both

    men and women move to improve their socioeconomic status, women express

    this motivation in a different, more personal language which reveals

    a sex difference in attitude only. In her sample of women migrants to

    Gaborne, Botswana, Bryant (1977) observes that, in one interview, 41

    per cent of the women said they had come to Gaborne to find a job, while

    50 per cent said they had come to join a relative. Yet six months later,

    51 per cent said they had come because of a job, and only 37 per cent

    said they came to join a relative. Bryant attributes these differences

    to the interview situation that in the first case led women to feel social

    pressures and thus give socially sanctioned responses. (They were inter-

    viewed by men and in front of the whole household.)

    Ideal data to explain the migration of women would compare character-

    istics of women migrants with those of women staying in the place of origin

    and/or native women in the place of destination as well as with those of

    male migrants. Equally important, these comparisons should be based on

    a valid assessment of women's (and men's) actual economic behavior. Cur-

    rently, sex differences in, for instance, the association between wages

    and migration may simply be a result of absence of reliable data on

    female wages, as Schultz (1971) pointed out in a study of internal mig-

    ration in Colombia that yielded a significant association between wages

    and migration for men but not for women. The problems of measuring workers'-

    participation in, as well as the wage value of, subsistence agriculture

    and work in the informal sector are well known. It is also becoming well

    known that women are overrepresented in these two areas of economic activity.

    While perhaps less well known, recent evidence also shows that there are

    gross underestimations of women's participation, as wage laborers, in

    modern sector agricultural activities (Deere, 1979; Buvinic, 1978).

    Just as improved measures of women's economic behavior are needed

    in order to explain the migration of women, explanatory factors of the

    economic behavior of women, both at points of origin and destination,

    are needed in models constructed to explain migration patterns. A

    model recently formulated by Thadani and Todaro (1978) is such an attempt.

    To explain the internal migration of autonomous women, they propose modi-

    fying the male model to include:

    a) actual rural-urban wage differentials and a measure of sex

    discrimination in the modern sector (by measuring the probability of

    employment) in the factor assessing employment/income differentials

    in the formal sector, and

    b) a factor measuring employment/income differentials in the in-

    formal sector.

    In addition, they include two marriage factors -- one accounting

    for a normative pressure to marry (marriage for its own sake) and the

    other responding to women's aspirations for economic mobility through

    marriage (operationalized as the probability of marrying males in the

    formal sector). They also include a sex role constraint and a "residual"


    The section below will review recent evidence on factors affecting

    the migration of women bearing in mind the theoretical and data limita-

    tions just mentioned.

    The Apparent Reasons

    The available evidence consistently shows sex differences in the

    (verbal) response autonomous migrants give to explain their own decisions

    to migrate. Across countries and over time, men's reasons for migration

    Share pr dominantly work-related. Women's reasons are less consistent
    S(over time and across countries) and often include marriage and family

    Kas well as work reasons. A survey of moves in and out among more than

    two hundred villages in Bangladesh indicates that men move mainly

    because of work and/or living conditions (57 per cent and 89 per cent

    of the independent moves in and out, respectively). Women, on the other

    hand, move most often as a result of marriage or marriage breakdowns

    (63 per cent and 67 per cent of their independent moves in and out,

    respectively). The same survey reveals a very high divorce rate in this

    region that affects women specifically; there are 2.7 times more divorced

    women than divorced men (Ruzicka and Chowdhury,1978). In a survey of

    a large sample of migrants to Lima, Peru, 53 per cent of the men and 30

    per cent of the women gave economic reason for their moves, while almost

    half of the women and only one in six males gave family reasons (Macisco,

    1975). Half of the women in a sample of migrants to Lagos, Nigeria gave

    accompanying or following their husbands as motives. Only 8 per cent

    said they came for work or education-related reasons (Lucas, 1974).

    While family and marriage are often mentioned by women, economic

    reasons increasingly are also being given. Forty per cent of the women

    in a sample of migrants to Bangkok, half of those in a sample migrating

    to Kingston, and 81 per cent of a smaller sample of women migrants to

    the slums of New Delhi gave employment as the main reason for their move

    (Piampiti, n.d.; Standing, 1978b; Singh, 1978a ). As has already been

    mentioned, evidence from women migrants to Gaborne, Botswana, and also

    to Lagos, Nigeria, suggests that women may underreport the economic reasons

    behind their moves (see Bryant, 1977; Lucas, 1974).

    Women also verbalize freedom from traditional norms and restrictions

    in the village as a main reason for their moves to urban areas. Little reports

    this as the case for many African women, especially women who have unhappy

    or barren marriages. Connell et al (1976) find that women among the Baoule

    in Ivory Coast migrate as "an act of defiance against men", and Castro et al,

    (1978) find that many young women migrate to urban areas in Brazil after having

    lost their virginity. There is no evidence of men giving similar "freedom"

    reasons for their moves, and the possibility exist that these women migrate

    not to attain freedom but because they are forced to leave when they break

    socially defined codes, which tend to be harsher for women than for men.

    However, it should be kept in mind that motives of women migrants may differ from

    those of men only in their expression; the reasons given need not correspond

    with the real reasons for migration.

    Underlying Socioeconomic Factors

    To pinpoint socioeconomic factors that affect the migration of the

    sexes differently, this section will review regional economic factors

    explaining women's migration as well as factors that may restrict the

    migration of one sex but not the other. The relative mobility of the

    sexes in different geographical areas depends on the relative economic

    responsibility carried by men and women, the relative availability of

    alternative jobs for the two sexes, and economic as well as noneconomic

    restrictions on women.

    Women migrants in Latin America and the Caribbean. In the last two

    decades women in the region have predominated in rural to urban migration

    flows. They are both young (10-19 age cohort) and old,single, less educated

    than their male counterparts, and generally also less educated than native

    urban women. They tend to migrate to the larger cities and metropolitan

    areas, whether they have moved in stagewise fashion or directly from the

    rural region of origin.

    Parallels have been drawn between historical internal migration

    patterns in the region and those of the United States; these stages can

    be related to different levels of economic development. In the first

    stage, more males than females migrate and migration is seasonal or

    residence at the destination lasts only a year or two. During the second

    stage, more families migrate, and more migrants intend to stay for several

    years or until they retire, if not permanently. Finally, during the third

    stage, more females migrate (Elton, 1974)..

    There is wide agreement that economic factors determine this third

    migratory stage. Women's high rates of rural outmigration are attributed

    to their displacement from subsistence agriculture as land consolidation,

    agricultural mechanization, and the growth of wage employment reduce

    women's productive role and leave them increasingly dependent on men's

    insecure income. In conditions of strictly limited access to cultivable

    land, population growth has added to fragmentation of land ownership and,

    thus, to stagnant incomes. This general pattern of stagnant and declining

    rural living standards, common to many economies in which capitalist growth

    is occurring, has meant lack of jobs for young women in agriculture as well
    as decreased opportunities to earn even low incomes (Standing, 1978d).

    On the other hand, the large metropolitan areas offer these women

    work in either domestic service or the informal sector. As low paid as

    these jobs may be, it is argued that since young girls are not needed to

    help in either agricultural work or in household tasks, poor families

    may maximize potential resources such as wealth, income, and employment

    opportunities of all family members by sending their young daughters to

    town to become domestic workers, even if only for room and board (Boserup,

    1970; Jelin, 1977).

    The data available is quite consistent in supporting this "pull"

    argument. In fact, pull factors seem to outweigh all others in explain-

    ing women's mobility. In Chile, the correlation between urban population

    and migratory pull is higher for women than it is for men (Bustamante,

    1978); in Peru, pull factors appear more important than push factors to

    explain the predominantly female migratory flows to urban areas in the

    1960s (Macisco, 1975).

    The employment patterns of female migrants in the large Latin

    American cities--their high participation in sectors of low productivity

    and wages as domestic work and other personal services--suggests urban-

    ization rather than industrialization as the structural factor "pulling"

    women to the cities. The available evidence supports this suggestion.

    Data from Chile shows that women migrants are more attracted than men

    by urban areas that provide health, housing, and basic education infra-

    structure; that is, when compared to men, they appear to migrate Dot only

    / for the jobs the city offers but also for the infrastructure and services
    of urban environments (Bustamante, 1978). However, although they are attra-

    cted by such services, they usually do not benefit from them because they

    cannot find work in areas where services are available.

    Historical labor force participation data from Brazil and from

    Colombia indicates that men's, but not women's, participation is directly

    related to industrialization levels (Lewin et al, 1977; Leon de Leal, 1977).

    Large metropolitan areas in Brazil show an inverse relationship between
    level of economic development and the proportion of female population

    living in the area (the urban sex ratios); further, it is in the least

    developed metropolitan areas that women most often are employed in the

    tertiary sector of the economy, especially in the category of personal
    12 '
    services (Lewin et al, 1977)- The Brazil data suggests that women

    migrants may end up in urban environments with low levels of industria-

    lization, limited opportunities for productive employment and low or

    inaccesible levels of urban services. The Chile data confirm this.

    Urban areas with better health and housing infrastructures "hold" on

    to migrant men more than to migrant women; when compared to women, men

    leave sooner those provinces with less health and housing infrastructures.

    The explanation may lie in the types of employment offered to men and women.

    Men are placed in urban areas in the high capital technological sector

    associated with high earnings as well as good health and housing services.

    Men's jobs stabilize men in areas with good infrastructure facilities,

    1-'That is, there is a significant negative correlation between the
    economic development of different metropolitan areas and female labor
    force participation in services.

    while women, who migrated in the first place to these areas because of

    more housing and health facilities, obtain jobs that prevent their access

    to these urban benefits (Bustamante, 1978).
    Although the "pull" factors have been largely confirmed, recent

    findings bring into question the "push" factors widely used to explain

    the women's outmigration from rural areas in Latin America and the

    Caribbean. The commonly held assumption is that women's role in agri-

    culture in the region is low and/or restricted to the subsistence sector.

    Data from Brazil, Colombia, and Honduras, however, challenge census re-

    porting and show that a significant proportion of wage labor in current

    commercial agriculture is women's labor (Lewin et al, 1977; Deere, 1979;

    Buvinic, 1978). Moreover, the Brazil data, show a positive association

    between expansion of small landholdings (through colonization and sub-

    divisions) in the 1950-60 decade and growth in women's labor force parti-

    cipation in agriculture. It does not seem, therefore, that women migrate

    to the cities in the region because they have no access to wage earning

    jobs in agriculture or because fragmentation of landownership has dis-

    placed them from agriculture. It is highly probable that rural/urban wage /

    differentials still play an important part in women's rural outmigration,

    even if they are agricultural wage laborersA. An additional central

    factor may be rural/urban differentials in infrastructure especially

    housing, education, and child care--which is one of the bases for our

    hypothesis that a substantial proportion of those women migrants may be

    In fact, a logical prediction is a much higher probability of out-
    migration for rural women who have access to cash earnings than for those
    who do not. The only exception would be the migration of young girls
    many of whom are sent to the city to reside with relatives and/or "god
    parents" (J.elin, 1977).

    de facto heads of household with one or more children to support.

    Sex differences in migratory patterns in Sub-Sahara Africa. In

    order to explain migratory patterns in Africa, an analysis must be made

    of the sex-specific factors that prevent (as well as those that promote)

    the migration of women. It is by now well known that economic policies

    introduced in the early part of this century by colonial regimes

    triggered a vast migration of rural African men to plantations and urban

    areas in search of work that would provide them with cash incomes. The

    overall redirection of economic activity from precolonial production and

    trade to export oriented production and commerce, the introduction of

    goods and services that had to be purchased with cash, and the imposition

    of compulsory labor laws caused the migration of, for instance, West

    Africans from the interior to the coastal administrative/commercial centers.

    It also reinforced the customary wide difference in marriage age of young

    men and girls in African villages. The recruitment for wage labor of

    males between the ages of 20-35 left a high village ratio of women to men

    in those age groups; women waited and married the older men who had re-

    turned from wage labor (see Boserup, 1970; Sudarkasa, 1977). Women gener- -

    ally did not migrate with the men, not only because of labor policy

    restrictions but also--and more importantly--because women had had a sig-

    nificant part in pre-colonial subsistence agriculture and remained in

    charge of subsistence crops in the village. (Boserup, 1970; Tinker, 1976).

    This pattern of highly male selective seasonal or nonpermanent

    migration continues today, especially in South African countries where

    government restrictions do not permit males to be accompanied by their

    families. Recent UN estimates place up to nine males for every female

    in some mining towns in Lesotho and Botswana, among others. Mueller

    (1977) estimates that the average miner spends 35 per cent of his work-

    ing life in the mines. Social restrictions against the migration of

    women from rural to urban areas are also mentioned in migration studies

    for selected African countries (i.e. Zambia and Kenya), although such

    restrictions are not present in other countries (i.e., Ghana and Nigeria)

    (Caldwell, 1968; Levine, 1966). In Zambia, until 1916 it was illegal

    for a single women to migrate to town without permission of the native

    commissioner (Schuster, 1979).Little (1973) interprets the enactment of

    this law as an attempt to preserve tribal stability and induce the return

    of migrant men. One of the reasons given for women's reluctance to move

    to town now is the fear of being labeled a prostitute (Schuster, 1979).

    Men perpetuate this restriction by not marrying urban women, but

    returning to the villages in order to find wives. On the other hand,

    Levine (1966) reports positive reactions to the migration of women in

    northern Nigeria, where women's market and trading activities require


    Women, however, are starting to leave the rural areas in some

    African countries. A significant proportion of single women started

    migrating to Lagos, Nigeria, after the 1966-67 Civil War; by 1973, for

    every woman aged 25-29 who grew up in Lagos State there were three mig-

    rants of the same age (Levine, 1966). Caldwell observes a significant

    tendency toward a greater equalization of the sexes in the 1960s

    in West African non-primate cities. He attributes these demographic

    changes to increased employment opportunities for women in the cities

    and a vast improvement in the system of roads and transportation

    (Caldwell, 1975). Bryant (1977), Schuster(1979), and Sudarkasa. (1977)

    also cite the employment opportunities that African cities are offering

    women; not surprisingly, as in the Latin American case, they are

    domestic work. Also, as in the Latin American case, the migration of

    autonomous African women seems to occur in two extreme age cohorts, the

    very young and women over fifty years of age. For the very young, the

    "pull" factors identified are jobs as domestics and marriage motives. The

    "push" factors are further deteriorating economic conditions in rural

    areas, coupled with heavy agricultural burdens for women and the severe

    shortage of males of marriagable ages within certain villages and/or

    status groups as a result of previous patterns of male migration (Little,


    For the very old, the "pull" factors are jobs in the cities. The

    "push" factor again is increasing rural poverty, particularly for widowed

    or divorced women with dependents and without the traditional economic

    support they used to have.

    An additional push factor given is the increased willingness of

    farmers to hire women at less than male wages (Connell et al, 1976), which

    suggests that, as in Latin America, more women than is currently

    thought may be participating as wage labor in commercial agriculture.

    Sex differences in migration patterns in North Africa and the

    Middle East. The existing migration literature reports few women

    migrants in North Africa and the Middle East, at least in internal

    migratory flows. Islam has been widely thought to restric women's

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