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Gender equality

A record 41.6 per cent of the world’s 164 million migrant workers globally are women migrant workers. In Asia and the Pacific, this increases to 56 per cent. Migration can yield significant benefits for women, such as social and economic empowerment, but women migrant workers are also disproportionately at risk of exploitation and discrimination. 

Of the 25 million people in forced labour globally, women and girls account for 71 per cent of victims of exploitation. Women migrant workers face considerable risks of exploitation and are often exposed to triple-discrimination: not only as women but also as unprotected workers and migrants. Gender norms and perceptions during recruitment cause continued discrimination during employment.  

Migration policies and practices have been slow to recognize the specific risks and identify actions to make the migration journey safe and fair for women. Perpetuated perceptions of women’s role in the home and workplace, restrictions on women migrants’ mobility through e.g. legal requirements for spousal consent to migrate, as well as a higher proportion of women migrant workers employed in the informal sector or in hidden professions such as house work have made gender sensitive policies and practices slow to develop.



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