One of the fastest growing groups is women and girls migrating for employment, caught up in the ever-changing, globalized world of work. Current estimates by the International Labour Organization put the official number of international female migrant workers at 66 million, which does not include the large numbers of migrant women working or migrating irregularly. Numbers of internal female migrant workers are estimated to be much greater.
On International Women’s Day 2017, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) embraces the official United Nations theme, Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030, by honouring migrant women and girls.
We salute their achievements and acknowledge the challenges they face. And as we work with Member States to draft a ground-breaking Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, we call on governments and the international community to expand their access to decent work and ensure that their migration experience is as positive as possible.
The world of work has never been more globalized and interconnected than it is today. A labour shortage in one part of the world is often filled by workers from the other side of the world. Women are very much part of this phenomenon and can be found in all labour market sectors.
For example, global care chains create demand for care and domestic work that draws women from countries in South Asia, Southeast Asia and Latin America, to perform such work in Europe, North America and the Middle East.
In countries of origin too, other women and girls are stepping into the service gaps left by the family members who have sought employment abroad. Many other women and girls are migrating to work in other sectors, such as agriculture, manufacturing and hospitality.
For many women and girls, migrating for work is an attractive proposition. It can allow them to advance economically, socially and professionally; it can contribute to an increase in self-confidence, autonomy and control over their lives; and it can enable them to better support their families. It might also expose them to new, more equitable gender norms.