Are women open to migrating for work and education? Here's what this Nestaway report found
It’s 2019, and the number of women in the Indian workforce is abysmally low – one of the lowest in the world.
There are many reasons for this dismal scenario, including regressive mindsets, lack of opportunities, skill sets that do not match jobs, and child rearing, among others.
What one doesn’t notice, however, is the migration factor? Are women in India open to migration, for education or work? The 2011 Census data on migration revealed that nearly 70 percent women migrated, but less than three percent migrated for education or employment opportunities.
Why do women hesitate to migrate? Is it because of compulsions of family or other cultural factors?
Nestaway Technologies recently conducted a study to find out why women in India hesitated to migrate for education or work.
What are the impediments to women migrating? Do family and cultural factors come into play? Even if a woman does migrate, what is her experience of migrating like? What are her top concerns and difficulties?
About the study
Studies on migration usually tend to focus on issues faced by men. There is not adequate representation of issues of women migrants.
The study surveyed 1,000 single women belonging to three segments - those who have migrated, those who plan on migrating, and those who chose not to migrate.
These women were from Madurai, Nagpur, Bhubaneshwar, Patna, and Lucknow. Of these, 350 women had migrated to cities like Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Pune, and Mumbai to pursue education. Three hundred and fifty had migrated for employment opportunities.
The study focused on their perspectives and experiences before, during, and after migration.
Key findings of the survey
- Women want to migrate not just for academic and professional growth, but also to live an independent lifestyle and live life on their own terms.
- Safety is the biggest concern that women have about shifting to a new city, with over 40 percent of women stating it was their biggest consideration.
- In an interesting revelation, it was found that in 67 percent of cases where a woman had migrated, she had the consent and support of her parents. Seventy two percent of women who planned to move said their parents approved of their decision. In contrary to popular perception, more and more parents are beginning to be supporters of their daughters migrating.
- In more than 40 percent of the cases, the final decision to move was made by the women jointly with her parents. In about 26 percent of the cases, the women made the decision herself.
Decision-making has become more democratic; women are speaking up when it comes to decisions concerning themselves.
1. The biggest concerns that women had while migrating were related to safety and housing, with over. In fear for their safety, over 42 percent of women were accompanied by a parent or family member while migrating. More than 75 percent of them relied on friends and family to find a safe place of residence.
2. Despite their concerns on safety and housing, 75 percent of the women who migrated said that their experience as a migrant had been a positive one because the city allowed them to pursue their career aspirations. Making new friends and living in a safe environment were the reasons why they were optimistic about living in a city.
3. About 37 percent of women said that they lived in a shared rented room. In Chennai, most women (68 percent) seem to be staying in shared rented rooms when compared to other types of accommodation.
4. About 34 percent women said that they were living in a paying guest accommodation. Paying guest accommodation was also the most popular living arrangement amongst women migrants in Delhi (60 percent).
5. Sixteen percent women had rented a private room in a shared house and 11 percent of the women said that they had fully rented a house.
It’s heartening to note that more women are migrating to seek independent lifestyles and the opportunity to pursue academic and professional growth.
But what's stopping women migration numbers from going up? The problem remains safety and lack of suitable infrastructure, such as housing. While mindsets are changing, our cities are still a huge deterrent to women migrating.
“Census data from 2011 suggests that out of 310 million who migrated, 69 percent of women migrated for marriage. Only three percent of women migrated to pursue education or career growth. While the migration rate for women has gone up, more women still migrate for marriage than for anything else. With this study we wanted to understand why Indian women don't migrate for education or for work, and understand the fears, inhibition, and roadblocks women face before, during, and after migration,” a Nestaway spokesperson said .