Formal and Informal Female Migration: Challenges of Governance in Bangladesh

Friday, July 18, 2014: 11:10 AM
Room: 419
Oral Presentation
Mehraj JAHAN , NGO, NAW, Abu Dhabi, Bangladesh
In the last three decades, Bangladesh has grown to be an important source of labor migration. Female labor migration, however, has lagged far behind the male migration. Starting with a small number, in recent years the number of Bangladeshi women has grown. Official figures put the proportion of Bangladeshi female labor migrants as 1% of the total number of migrant workers in 2003. In recent years proportion of women as total migrants is estimated at around 14%. Bangladeshi female migrant workers go to the Gulf countries, Lebanon, and Singapore to work as domestic workers. Many Bangladeshi women also went to work in the textile industries in Malaysia, Mauritius and Korea. In addition to formal labor migration, an undetermined number of female workers go to neighboring India to work as domestic workers as well as in entertainment industries. The issue of Bangladeshi female migrants in India has created controversies in Bangladesh especially, in view of the harsh treatment they face as undocumented workers. They also take great risk, including the risk of life in crossing the Bangladesh - India borders. The present paper examines how the government of Bangladesh has dealt with the issue of female labor migration and what are the public policies in place to promote safe female migration to the Gulf countries and Lebanon and how concerned authorities of Bangladesh government deal with the informal female migration to India. Using interview methods and analysis of secondary data, this paper will draw attention to the Bangladeshi female migrants in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and Lebanon. Policy issues, especially innovation in migration policies will be examined in this paper.