‘We Are Like Oil to Our Government’
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This chapter examines the ways in which the unequally gendered structures of opportunity in Ethiopia drive and sustain the migration of women to the Middle East. The chapter begins by situating the migration trajectory of Ethiopian women in the context of broader trends of migration within and from Ethiopia, analysing how migration patterns are gendered in terms of legality, direction, and duration. I go on to argue that the gender differentiation in demographic changes, unemployment, and education cumulatively produce structural conditions in Ethiopia that are drivers of young women’s migration. The chapter then assesses the Ethiopian government’s policies towards migration, which seek to regulate and restrict migration. The central paradox that the chapter exposes is that, on the one hand, structural conditions in Ethiopia propel the migration of women, which is critical to the survival of the women and their families. On the other hand, the Ethiopian government’s legislation to regulate migration seeks to restrict and control the mobility of women without adequately supporting or protecting those who do migrate. The chapter ends with an outline of the regular and irregular pathways through which women migrate.
KeywordsEthiopian migration Drivers of migration Legislation and policy Migrant journeys Brokers Private employment agencies
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