Generations after generations, the world has been witnessing migration of people in various regions for different of reasons. Migration can either be voluntary or involuntary depending on the prevailing circumstances. Voluntary migration is caused by numerous reasons, although, the search for economic empowerment is often cited as the major reason.
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It is believed that women, just like men, migrate because of economic reasons; however, there are other reasons that push women into leaving their motherlands. Women whose husbands have migrated to foreign countries or are citizens of other countries often migrate to those countries to join their husbands for family reunification through a process known as chain migration.
Women living in communities that are characterized by abusive patriarchal family setups are most likely to migrate to regions that have more socioeconomic opportunities and gender empowerment programs.
The increased demand for unskilled labor such as, household workers, caregivers or nurses, sex workers, and brides or wives in developed countries is the driving factor that is responsible for encouraging women to move to these countries.
When women from developing countries migrate to developed countries and take up jobs as household workers, women in the host countries are relieved from their household duties and they find time to concentrate on developing their careers and enhance their social lives.
Therefore, women migration becomes beneficial to the women who are citizens of the host countries. It should also be noted that survival is the major reason that forces women immigrants into unskilled labor and not the desire to seek gender equity or subdue male dominance.
The challenges and disadvantages of migration by women outweigh the benefits associated with this exercise. Many governments around the world have immigration policies that are very unfriendly to women. For instance, it is extremely difficult to acquire a visa or a work permit unless the would-be immigrant is targeting a male-dominated occupation.
These types of policies deny a lot of women immigration opportunities to many countries around the world. Furthermore, immigration policies for several governments do not support chain migration or family reunification immigration. And since it is women who normally benefit from family reunification immigration, their chances of migrating into these countries are limited.
Most Asian countries have migration policies that are selective on the basis of gender, therefore, emigration of women in these countries follow a restrictive regime. Despite these barriers, women still manage to enter these countries through illegal migration practices, such as, human trafficking or smuggling.
This trend is alarming and more women than men are resorting to illegal migration, in order to beat the anti-women immigration policies by some governments.
One of the major challenges that face women who migrate to other countries and leave behind their husbands and children is the emotional anguish associated with transnational motherhood. Since they are forced to care for their children across national borders, these women are constantly guilty of abandoning their families.
The situation is made worse by societal expectations; the role of a married woman in many traditional communities is that of a housewife who is expected to sit at home and look after the family.
On the other hand, most of the jobs that are done by women immigrants are mostly exploitative and abusive. Furthermore, the fact that some women dependent on illegal tactics to sneak into host countries shows that immigration is not favorably to women.