Indian Women as Nurses and Domestic Workers in the Middle East: A Feminist Perspective

  • Nilanjana Ray


Migration is a gendered experience. Who moves and who does not, the resources that can be allocated for an individual’s movement, the networks that can be tapped to facilitate mobility, the sectors of the economy where there are possibilities of employment, the conditions of work, family support required and the usage of remittances and so on are issues that impact men and women differently. Moreover, the impact of migration on personal relationships is said to be more significant for women migrants than men. While structuralist, neoliberal or network theorists explain migration in a gender-neutral manner, feminist theorists draw out the contexts and challenges specific to women’s migration. Moreover, they give equal importance to the question of what happens after migration. They prefer to study the migration through personal narratives that help explain the nuances of experiences. This chapter draws upon some extant anthropological studies on the migration experience of women from Kerala who work as nurses and domestic workers in the Middle East and critically analyses them through the feminist lens. The section Feminist Lens of Migration Research presents the essence of the feminist framework. Using this analytical frame, the section Deconstructing the Narratives of Migrant Nurses revisits the narratives of nurse migration. In a similar manner, the section Deconstructing the Narratives of Migrant Domestic Workers explores the narratives of domestic worker migration. Finally, the section Comparing the Two Migration Streams compares the experiences of the two migration streams.


International migration Women Domestic workers Middle East Feminist 


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nilanjana Ray
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Gender StudiesTata Institute of Social SciencesHyderabadIndia

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