The Agonies and Glories of Female Domestic Workers in the Gulf States: Experiences of Ex-migrants in Northern Ethiopia

Kelemework Tafere Reda


Women’s response to poverty and unemployment is a major concern for policy makers. One of the most prominent livelihood strategies used by poor, unemployed and uneducated women in Northern Ethiopia is migration to the Middle East to earn money to support their families back home. Based on qualitative data, the study looks into migrant women’s pre-and post-migration scenarios in terms of their economic, social and psychological wellbeing. The pull and push factors, the challenges and opportunities as well as the pattern of decision making are examined. The migration of large number of women domestic workers into the Gulf States is propelled by the need to earn income to support family and save money to start small businesses in their places of origin. Peer pressure and family influence are also found out to be crucial factors in migration. Despite marginal socio-economic gains, migrants are subject to incidents of domestic violence, rape, harassments or even murder. This calls for an integrated and concerted multi-stakeholder effort to empower women through sound policies and interventions.  


Women; Poverty; Ethiopia; Migration; Middle East

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ISSN 2308-7854 (online); ISSN 0850-5780 (print)

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