“The Manila Call to Action is a broader platform, with practical and doable solutions”, said Linda Wirth, Director of the ILO Subregional Office for South-East Asia and the Pacific in Manila. “We see a lot of deskilling of migrant women and they represent a high proportion in the brain drain, especially in health and education sectors. More women are trafficked for sexual exploitation than men. Women are mostly in the invisible sector such as domestic work which can be highly exploitative and abusive. But we also know that men migrants face dehumanizing working and living conditions in certain sectors and are almost the same number in labour trafficking and bonded labour. They often have to take on new roles of family care as mothers migrate.”
Today, the “feminization” of migration has resulted in women making up nearly half of the global migrant population. The number of women migrants increased from 35.3 million in 1960 to 94.5 million in 2005. The majority of women migrants are migrating to work or study abroad. But they also continue to represent a significant proportion in migration for family formation and reunification, and as asylum seekers. Yet, gender-responsive solutions in protecting their rights are still not in place across countries. While they often face many challenges they also avail of new opportunities opened up to them by migration – new and better jobs and evolution of gender roles.