Nepali Women’s Labour Migration: Between Protection and Proscription
AbstractWith the increase in female migration, especially in the domestic sector, and accompanying reports of worker exploitation and abuse, labour-sending countries are grappling with the question of how to protect these workers. Drawing on a critical feminist policy analysis framework, this article analyses the policy and regulatory frameworks of Nepal related to female labour migration and examines their implications. Our analysis indicates that Nepal’s policy regime consist of a set of measures which are simultaneously liberal, protective and restrictive, and as such, they have not altered the structural conditions and economic reasons for women’s migration. Instead, women appear to be largely uninformed about government regulations, and most importantly, working conditions abroad are not affected by sending country policies, including the various migration bans put in place to protect women.
Acharya, S. (2014). Gender, Jobs and Education: Prospects and Realities in Nepal. Kathmandu: UNESCO.
Amnesty International. (2011). False Promises: Exploitation and Forced Labour of Nepalese Migrant Workers. London: Amnesty International Ltd.
Anti-Slavery International. (2006). Trafficking in Women, Forced Labour and Domestic Work in the Context of the Middle East and Gulf Region. In Working Paper Anti-Slavery International. Retrieved from http://www.antislavery.org/wpcontent/uploads/2017/01/traffic_women_forced_labour_domestic_2006.pdf
Asian Development Bank (ADB). (2010). Overview of Gender and Social Inclusion in Nepal. Mandaluyong City, Philippines: Asian Development Bank.
Bhadra, C. (2007). International Labour Migration of Nepalese Women: Impact of their remittances on poverty reduction. In Asia Pacific Research and Training Network on Trade, Working Paper Series, No. 44, (Rev. Jan 08).
Brochmann, G. (1993). Middle East Ave: Female Migration from Sri Lanka to the Gulf. Boulder: Westview Press.
Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), National Planning Commission Secretariat (NPC), & United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). (2014). Annual Household Survey 2012/2013. Kathmandu: Central Bureau of Statistics.
Davidson, J.O. (2015). The margins of freedom: modern-slavery. Palgrave MacMillan.
Department of Foreign Employment (DoFE). (2012, August 9). Department of Foreign Employment after the decision by the cabinet on 9 August 2012 [Press release].
Ehrenreich, B., & Hochschild, A. (Eds.). (2003). Global Woman: Nannies, Maids, and Sex Workers in the New Economy. New York: Metropolitan Books.
Fernandez, B. (2013). Traffickers, Brokers, Employment Agents, and Social Networks: The Regulation of Intermediaries in the Migration of Ethiopian Domestic Workers to the Middle East. International Migration Review, 47(4): 814-843.
Foreign Employment Promotion Board (FEPB). (2012, September 3). Information for those wishing to migrate for domestic work (translated) [Press Release]. Retrieved from http://fepb.gov.np/newsdetail.php?id=27
Fraser, N. (2007). Feminist politics in the age of recognition: A two-dimensional approach to gender justice. Studies in Social Justice, 1(1): 23-35.
Gammage, S., and Stevanovic, N. (2018). Gender, migration and care deficits: what role for the sustainable development goals? Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, DOI: 10.1080/1369183X.2018.1456751.
Gelb, J., and Lief Palley, M. (1996). Women and Public Policies: Reassessing Gender Politics. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia.
Ghimire, P. (2013). 'Review of migration and development policies and programmes and their impact on economic and social development, and identification of relevant priorities in view of the preparation of the post-2015 development framework,' Nepal Country Statement on Agenda Item 5, Asia Pacific Regional preparatory meeting for UN General Assembly High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development, Bangkok 29-31May 2013
Gordon, J. (2015). Global Labour Recruitment in a Supply Chain Context. Geneva: ILO.
Government of Nepal (GoN). (2007). Foreign Employment Act, 2064 (2007). Available at www.lawcommission.gov.np/index.php/en/acts -english
Government of Nepal (GoN). (2008). Foreign Employment Regulations, 2064 (2008). Available at http://www.dofe.gov.np/new/uploads/article/foreign-e-r-english_20120420110303.pdf
Gurung, G. (2004). An Overview Paper on Overseas Employment in Nepal. Kathmandu: International Labour Organization (ILO).
Gurung, G. (2013). Living the Golden Dreams: The Gulf and Nepalese women. Kathmandu: Maiti Nepal.
Hamill, K. (2011). Trafficking of Migrant Domestic Workers in Lebanon, A Legal Analysis. Beirut: KAFA (enough) Violence and Exploitation, COSV (Coordination Committee of the Organizations for Voluntary Service), Lebanese Center for Human Rights (CLDH) and the Permanent Peace Movement (PPM).
Htun, M., & Weldon, S. (2010). When Do Governments Promote Women's Rights? A Framework for the Comparative Analysis of Sex Equality Policy. Perspectives on Politics, 8(1), 207-216.
International Labour Organization (ILO). (2015). No easy exit - Migration bans affecting women from Nepal. International Labour Office, Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work (FUNDAMENTALS), Labour Migration Branch (MIGRANT). Geneva: ILO.
International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC). (2017). Facilitating Exploitation: A review of Labour Laws for Migrant Domestic Workers in Gulf Cooperation Council Countries. Brussels: ITUC. Retrieved from https://www.ituc-csi.org/IMG/pdf/migrant_domestic_workers_in_gulf_final-2.pdf
Irianto, S., & Truong, T.D. (2014). From Breaking the Silence to Breaking the Chain of Social Injustice: Indonesian Women Migrant Domestic Workers in the United Arab Emirates. In T. D. Truong, D. Gasper, J. Handmaker, & S.I. Bergh (Eds.). Migration, Gender and Social Justice, Perspectives on Human Security (pp 24-45). Heidleberg: Springer.
Jones, K. (2015). Recruitment Monitoring and Migrant Welfare Assistance. Dhaka: International Organization for Migration.
Jureidini, R., & Moukarbel, N. (2004). Female Sri Lankan Domestic Workers in Lebanon: A Case of 'Contract Slavery'?. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 30(4): 27.
Kantipur (2014, May 29). Khadima gharelu kamdar kholne tayari (Preparations for opening up Gulf for domestic workers. Kantipur.
Kapur, R. (2012). Makeshift Migrants and Law: Gender, Belonging and Post-Colonial Anxieties. New York: Routledge.
Kiss L, Fotheringhame D, McAlpine A, Mak J, Zimmerman C. Labour exploitation of Nepalese migrant women: pathways to prevention. Manuscript submitted for publication.
Lan, P. C. (2006). Global Cinderellas: Migrant Domestics and Newly Rich Employers in Taiwan. Durham: Duke University Press.
MacKinnon, C.A. (1989). Toward a Feminist Theory of the State. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Mahdavi, P., & Sargent, C. (2011). Questioning the Discursive Construction of Trafficking and Forced Labor in the United Arab Emirates. Journal of Middle East Women's Studies, 7(3): 6-35.
Malit Jr, F.T., Naufal, G. (2016). Asymmetric information under the Kafala sponsorship system: Impacts on foreign domestic workers' income and employment status in the GCC countries. International Migration, 54(5), 76-90.
Mazur, A. G. (2003). Theorizing Feminist Policy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
McLaughlin, M. W. (1991) Learning from Experience: Lessons from Policy Implementation. In A. R. Odden (Ed.), Education Policy Implementation (pp185 -196). Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.
McPhail, B.A. (2008). A Feminist Policy Analysis Framework, The Social Policy Journal, 2 (2-3): 39-61, DOI: 10.1300/J185v02n02_04
Ministry of Labour and Employment. (2015). Notice on sending Nepalese workers for Foreign Employment at a minimum cost. Retrieved from http://www.mole.gov.np/ckfinder/userfiles/files/minimumcost.pdf/
Ministry of Labour and Employment. (2016). Labour Migration for Employment, A Status Report for Nepal: 2014/2015. Kathmandu: Ministry of Labour and Employment, Government of Nepal.
Murphy, R. (2008). The impact of socio-cultural norms on women's experience of migration and implication for development. In Migration and Development: Future Directions for Research and Policy, SSRC Migration and Development Conference Papers (pp 256 - 276). Brooklyn, NY: Social Science Research Council.
National Planning Commission. (2013). Nepal Millennium Development Goals Progress Report 2013. Kathmandu: National Planning Commission, Government of Nepal and United Nations Country Team of Nepal.
Ogawa, R., Oishi A.S., Chan R.K.H., and Wang LR. (2018). Introduction: Situating Gender, Care, and Migration in East Asia. In Ogawa R., Chan R., Oishi A., Wang LR. (eds) Gender, Care and Migration in East Asia. Series in Asian Labor and Welfare Policies. Palgrave Macmillan, Singapore.
Parker, L. C. (1998). From Brown to Ayers-Fordice: The Changing Shape of Racial Desegregation in Higher Education. Journal of Education Policy, 13: 699 -715.
Parreñas, R.S. (2001). Servants of Globalization: Women, Migration and Domestic Work. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Pearson, R and Jackson, C. (2000). Introduction: Interrogating Development: Feminism, Gender and Policy. In R. Pearson and C. Jackson (Eds.), Feminist Visions of Development: Gender, Analysis and Policy (1-16). New York, NY: Routdedge.
Pillow, W. (2003). 'Bodies are dangerous': using feminist genealogy as policy studies methodology, Journal of Education Policy, 18(2): 145-159.
Republica (2014, May 15). Aspiring migrant domestic workers warn of protests. Republica.
Seddon, D. (2005). Nepal's Dependence on Exporting Labour. Migration Information Source. The Online Journal of Migration Policy Institute. Retrieved from http://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/nepals-dependence-exporting-labor/
Setopati (2014, May 9). Mahilale khadi jana bharatko bato roje pacchi… (When women chose to travel from India for the Gulf…). Setopati. Retrieved from http://setopati.com/chapa-bata/11156/
Shah, N. M. (2004). Gender and Labour Migration to the Gulf Countries. Feminist Review, 77(1): 183-185.
Shrestha, M., & Basu, M. (2012, August 10). Nepal bans women under 30 from working in Gulf states, CNN News. Retrieved from https://edition.cnn.com/2012/08/09/world/meast/nepal-migrant-workers/index.html
Sijapati, B., & Limbu, A. (2012). Governing Labour migration in Nepal: An analysis of existing policies and institutional mechanisms. Kathmandu: Centre for the Study of Labour and Mobility.
Sijapati, B., Ayub, M., & Kharel, H. (2017). Making migration free: an analysis of Nepal's 'free-visa, free ticket' scheme. In S. Irudaya Rajan (Ed.), South Asia Migration Report 2017: Recruitment, Remittances and Reintegration (pp 164 - 189). London: Routledge.
Sunderland, J. & Varia, N. (2006). Swept Under the Rug: Abuses against Domestic Workers Around the World. New York: Human Rights Watch.
The Kathmandu Post (2012, August 10). Age limit only for domestic workers. The Kathmandu Post.
The United Nations Development Fund for Women & the Nepal Institute of Development Studies. (2006). Nepali Women and Foreign Labour Migration. Kathmandu: UNIFEM & NIDS.
Troyna, B. (1994) Critical social research and educational policy. British Journal of Educational Studies, 42(2): 70-84.
Verité (2012). 'Labor Brokerage and Trafficking of Nepali Migrant Workers.' Retrieved from: https://www.verite.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Humanity-United-Nepal-Trafficking-Report-Final_1.pdf
World Bank and Department for International Development of the United Kingdom (DFID). (2006). Unequal Citizens: Gender, Caste and Ethnic Exclusion in Nepal. Kathmandu: World Bank and DFID.
Yeatman, A. (1990). Bureaucrats, Technocrats, Femocrats. Sydney: Allen & Unwin.