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Feminization of Labor Migration

Mako Yoshimura

Subject Gender Studies
Sociology » Sociology of Sex, Gender, and Sexuality

Key-Topics globalization, labor

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405124331.2007.x


Feminization of migration is characterized by an increase in the number of female migrants since the 1980s and by a concentration on female-specific work such as domestic helpers, nurses, entertainers, and so on in the process of globalization. While the movement of peoples, both internal and international, has been observed historically in various forms, the feminization of migration has been highlighted during the period of rapid economic globalization since the 1980s. Early research on migration noticed the differences between men and women found in immigration statistics, but paid little attention to this aspect of the subject. Gender structure only became part of the discussion after the early 1980s. In the 1980s, gender-based academic work focused on rural-urban female labor migration in the domestic labor market in developing countries in Asia and Latin America. Many case studies focused on young women mobilized as wage labor in factories by multinational corporations in free-trade zones and industrial estates. This research was part of a discussion on theories relating to the new international division of labor (NIDL) and the way global capital was relocating labor-intensive production. There was a preference for female labor because women were considered to have “nimble fingers” that fit them for labor-intensive processes, and women were therefore exploited as lower-paid, ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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