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Documenting the Undocumented: Female Migrant Workers from Bangladesh

Therese Blanchet (Author) Md. Abdur Razzaque (Author) Hannan Biswas (Author)

Official figures on female migrant workers from Bangladesh are incredibly low and, most agree, misleading. Periodic restrictions imposed by the government on women taking certain types of jobs in foreign countries along with social norms that reprove Women's Independent Movement have pushed their migration underground. Micro level studies have documented cross-border female labour migration from the country but, for lack of credible national data, a broader perspective cannot be achieved. This book is endeavour to fill in this important research gap. It maps out the cross-border labour migration of women from Bangladesh, and devises a suitable sampling and survey method by taking into consideration the uneven distribution of female migrant workers across the country. It then administers a Nationwide Survey to capture both regular and irregular migration and measures women's importance in absolute numbers as well as in relation to men.

This research constitutes an essential base for further research. It gives women visibility as migrants and as workers. The substantial number of female workers unveiled in this study calls for, amongst others, gender sensitization of foreign missions and agencies dealing with labour and manpower exporting and policies, careful analysis of policy and institutional streamlining affecting migration and remittance, and provision of investment and health related support to women returnees.

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About the authors

Therese Blanchet

Therese Blanchet studied social anthropology at the Universite  de Montreal, the New School for Social Research in New York and University College in London, UK.  She has carried out research in Bangladesh since 1978 after working with the Inuit in Canada and the Basotho in Africa.  In Bangladesh for the last 29 years, she has conducted studies on numerous topics including child birth, ritual pollution, maternal health, sexualities, prostitution, brothels, childhood and child labour.  She has been involved in cross border female labour migration and trafficking issues since 2000.  She directs the Drishti Research Centre.  She is the author of Lost Innocence, Stolen Childhoods (UPL, Dhaka 1996, 1999, 2001) and Women, Pollution and Marginality: Meanings and Rituals of Birth in Rural Bangladesh (UPL, Dhaka, 1984).  Her research articles have appeared in numerous journals.

Md. Abdur Razzaque

Abdur Razzaque holds a Ph D from the University of Sussex, UK, and is a faculty member of the Department of Economics at Dhaka University.  He has undertaken empirical research on trade policy, poverty and labour issues.  His recent publications include (with co-author) an edited volume Global Rice Trade Liberalisation: Implications for South Asian Countries (Published by Commonwealth Secretariat and Academic Foundation), and the three edited books on Bangladesh from Pathak Shamabesh: WTO and Regional Trade Negotiation Outcomes: Quantitative Assessments, Trade and Industrial Policy Environment, and Venturing into a Quota-free World: Readymade Garment Exports from Bangladesh.   He has also authored several other books/monographs, articles in professional journals and book chapters.  Dr. Razzaque has contributed to research projects initiated by, amongst others, ADB, Commonwealth Secretariat, CUTS International, IDRC, ILO, UNCTAD, UNDP, and World Bank.

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Hannan Biswas

Hannan Biswas obtained a Master degree in Economics from Dhaka University in 1991 and worked for the Save the Children, Sweden during 1993-1997.  Currently, he is a researcher at the Drishti Research Centre, Dhaka.  Field investigation based on participatory research methods has been his main area of specialization.  In the last 16years, he has participated in a number of qualitative and quantitative studies conducted in Bangladesh and India.  His important research include child and women workers in bidi factories, street children, child labour in coastal fisheries production and processing, domestic violence against women, trafficking in women, and sexualities and sexual behaviour in relation to STDs and HIV/AIDS.  Since 2000, he has been particularly involved in cross border female labour migration and trafficking issues.  He also writes in Bangla newspapers on contemporary issues.

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Bibliographic information

Title Documenting the Undocumented: Female Migrant Workers from Bangladesh
Format Hardcover
Date published: 31.03.2008
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 9848120807, 9789848120804
length 104p., Tables; Figures; Maps; References; Appendices; Index; 22cm.