Gendered dynamics of international labour migration: migrant women in Greater Beirut, Lebanon

Project report


Bechtold, H., Chaya, C., Maydaa, C., Kofman, E., Tuncer, E. and Lazzarino, R. 2022. Gendered dynamics of international labour migration: migrant women in Greater Beirut, Lebanon. London, UK The Gender, Justice and Security Hub. https://doi.org/10.13140/RG.2.2.25110.01600
TypeProject report
TitleGendered dynamics of international labour migration: migrant women in Greater Beirut, Lebanon
AuthorsBechtold, H., Chaya, C., Maydaa, C., Kofman, E., Tuncer, E. and Lazzarino, R.
Abstract

The historical and turbulent migration processes of Lebanon are reflected in a dynamic and composite country demography, including gender and labour features of migration. Currently, the number of migrant workers and refugees are exceptionally high in the country. Most migrants and refugees are women who live and work in unprotected conditions, making them vulnerable to abuses and exploitation. Additionally, women migrants’ situation worsened due to the conjunction of the three crises (the economic, the port blast, COVID-19) that hit the country between 2020 and 2022. Against this framework, this study set out to elaborate a gender-sensitive understanding of women migrant workers in Lebanon, within the framework of a larger multi-country research project ‘Gendered Dynamics of Labour Migration’, also involving Pakistan, Turkey, and KRI. Twenty-one in-depth interviews with migrant women and three interviews with third-sector practitioners in the greater Beirut urban area were conducted. Participants were for the most part low-skilled, aged between 21 and 41 years, migrated from Ethiopia and Syria, and spent in Beirut between 1 and 20 years. The interviews explored participants’ drivers of migration, their living and working conditions, the public access and urban spatial mobility, their agency and coping strategies, and their experiences of the Lebanese triple crisis. Thematic analysis of the interviews indicated that women were willing to leave their country of origin and exhibited high levels of agency in pursuing their migration project. Leaving behind discriminating gender norms and/or gender-based violence, poverty and other conflict-related hardships was perceived as emancipatory and empowering by participants. Financial independence and being able to help their families were a source of pride for the migrant domestic workers under the kafala system and the undocumented sex workers, who all perceived their stay in Lebanon as temporary. The hope to return home, staying in regular contact with their families, and seeking support from local charities were some of the coping strategies identified. The five Syrian professional migrants were instead permanently integrated in the Lebanese society, but as second-tier citizens, suffering from structural discrimination. While they were well educated, had a good job, built a life full of activities and hobbies – that the triple crisis heavily impacted – these women described being victims of forms of institutional racism. Despite the fact that Lebanon continues to be an important destination in South-South migration circuits, its legal and societal unpreparedness to respect and protect the rights of female migrant workers and refugees, and to cater for their support needs, urgently calls for improved policies, legal tools, and international and local services of assistance.

Sustainable Development Goals5 Gender equality
16 Peace, justice and strong institutions
10 Reduced inequalities
11 Sustainable cities and communities
8 Decent work and economic growth
Middlesex University ThemeCreativity, Culture & Enterprise
Health & Wellbeing
Sustainability
Research GroupDiversity and Gender group
LanguageEnglish
PublisherThe Gender, Justice and Security Hub
Place of publicationLondon, UK
Publication dates
Online14 Dec 2022
Publication process dates
Completed06 Dec 2022
Deposited12 Mar 2024
Output statusPublished
Publisher's version
License
File Access Level
Open
Additional information

Funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) - UKRI - grant ID AH/S004025/1.

DOI minted by ResearchGate.

Web address (URL)https://thegenderhub.com/publications/gendered-dynamics-of-international-labour-migration-migrant-women-in-greater-beirut-lebanon/
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.13140/RG.2.2.25110.01600
Related Output
Documentshttps://thegenderhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/Migrant-Women-in-Greater-Beirut-Lebanon.pdf
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Kofman, E. 2008. Managing migration and citizenship in Europe: towards an overarching framework. in: Gabriel, C. and Pellerin, H. (ed.) Governing international labour migration: current issues, challenges and dilemmas. London Routledge.
Mapping women, making politics: feminist perspectives on political geography.
Staeheli, L., Kofman, E. and Peake, L. 2004. Mapping women, making politics: feminist perspectives on political geography. New York Routledge.
Branding cities: cosmopolitanism, parochialism and social change.
Donald, S., Kofman, E. and Kevin, C. 2009. Branding cities: cosmopolitanism, parochialism and social change. London Routledge.
Globalization: theory and practice.
Kofman, E. and Youngs, G. 2008. Globalization: theory and practice. New York Continuum.
Family migration in Europe: policies vs. reality
Kraler, A., Kofman, E. and Social Policy Research Centre Middlesex University 2009. Family migration in Europe: policies vs. reality. Amsterdam Amsterdam U. P..
Gender, remittances and migration: Latin Americans and Caribbeans in Europe
Kofman, E. and UNESCO 2006. Gender, remittances and migration: Latin Americans and Caribbeans in Europe. International Forum on the Social Science – Policy Nexus. Argentina and Uruguay 20 - 24 Feb 2006
Women migrants and refugees in the EU.
Kofman, E. 2003. Women migrants and refugees in the EU. Economic and social aspects of migration.. Brussels 21 - 22 Jan 2003 European Commission.
Family migration.
Kofman, E., Meetoo, V. and International Organization for Migration. (IOM) 2008. Family migration. in: World migration 2008: managing labour mobility in the evolving global economy. Geneva IOM.
The impact of family migration policies on migrants/ citizens affected by family migration policies.
Kofman, E., Kraler, A. and International Centre for Migration Policy Development 2007. The impact of family migration policies on migrants/ citizens affected by family migration policies. 22nd EMN Meeting (European Migration Network). Brussels 06 Jul 2007
Civic stratification, gender and family migration policies in Europe.
Kofman, E., Kraler, A. and International Centre for Migration Policy Development 2006. Civic stratification, gender and family migration policies in Europe. IMISCOE B3: European dynamics of citizenship public policies and migrant activities.. Central European University, Budapest 31 May - 02 Jun 2006
Family migration to United Kingdom: trends, statistics and policies.
Kofman, E., Lukes, S., Meetoo, V. and Aaron, P. 2008. Family migration to United Kingdom: trends, statistics and policies. Vienna International Centre for Migration Policy Development.
Family migration policies in the United Kingdom: actors, practices and concerns.
Kofman, E., Lukes, S. and Aaron, P. 2008. Family migration policies in the United Kingdom: actors, practices and concerns. Vienna International Centre for Migration Policy Development.
Family migration policies in France.
Kofman, E., Rogoz, M. and Levy, F. 2010. Family migration policies in France. Vienna International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD).
Skilled female labour migration.
Kofman, E. and Raghuram, P. 2009. Skilled female labour migration. Hamburg Hamburg Institute of International Economics.
The implications of migration for gender and care regimes in the south.
Kofman, E. and Raghuram, P. 2009. The implications of migration for gender and care regimes in the south. Geneva UNRISD.
Gendered migrations: towards gender sensitive policies in the UK, asylum and migration.
Kofman, E., Raghuram, P. and Merefield, M. 2005. Gendered migrations: towards gender sensitive policies in the UK, asylum and migration. Institute of Public Policy Research.
Out of Asia: skilling, re-skilling and deskilling of female migrants.
Kofman, E. and Raghuram, P. 2004. Out of Asia: skilling, re-skilling and deskilling of female migrants. Women's Studies International Forum. 27 (2), pp. 95-100.
The invisibility of female skilled migrants and gender relations in studies of skilled migration in Europe.
Kofman, E. 2000. The invisibility of female skilled migrants and gender relations in studies of skilled migration in Europe. International Journal of Population Geography. 6 (1), pp. 45-59. https://doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1099-1220(200001/02)6:1<45::AID-IJPG169>3.0.CO;2-B
Contemporary European migrations, civic stratification and citizenship.
Kofman, E. 2002. Contemporary European migrations, civic stratification and citizenship. Political Geography. 21 (8), pp. 1035-1054. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0962-6298(02)00085-9
Migration, citizenship and the reassertion of the nation-state in Europe.
Kofman, E. 2005. Migration, citizenship and the reassertion of the nation-state in Europe. Citizenship Studies. 9 (6), pp. 453-467.
Lutte contre la discrimination “raciale” au Royaume-Uni.
Kofman, E. and Lassalle, D. 2006. Lutte contre la discrimination “raciale” au Royaume-Uni. Migrations Société. 105 (6), pp. 153-165.
Beyond a reductionist analysis of female migrants in global European cities: the unskilled, deskilled and skilled.
Kofman, E. 2000. Beyond a reductionist analysis of female migrants in global European cities: the unskilled, deskilled and skilled. in: Marchand, M. and Runyan, A. (ed.) Gender and global restructuring. London Routledge. pp. 129-139
Civil rights and citizenship.
Kofman, E. 2008. Civil rights and citizenship. in: Agnew, J., Mitchell, K. and O'Tuathail, G. (ed.) A companion to political geography. Oxford Blackwell.
Political geography and globalization as we enter the twenty-first century.
Kofman, E. 2003. Political geography and globalization as we enter the twenty-first century. in: Kofman, E. and Youngs, G. (ed.) Globalization: theory and practice. London Continuum. pp. 17-31
Professional female immigration in post-war Europe: counteracting an historical amnesia.
Erel, U. and Kofman, E. 2003. Professional female immigration in post-war Europe: counteracting an historical amnesia. in: Ohliger, R., Schönwälder, K. and Triadafilopoulos, T. (ed.) European encounters: migrants, migration and European societies since 1945. Aldershot Ashgate. pp. 71-95
Genre et migration internationale: critique du réductionnisme théorique.
Kofman, E. 2004. Genre et migration internationale: critique du réductionnisme théorique. in: Hersent, M. and Zaidman, C. (ed.) Genre, travail et migrations en Europe. Paris CEDREF, [Centre d'enseignements, de recherches et de documentation pour les études féministes]. pp. 81-97
Critically feminist geopolitics
Kofman, E. and Gilmartin, M. 2004. Critically feminist geopolitics. in: Staeheli, L., Kofman, E. and Peake, L. (ed.) Mapping women, making politics: feminist perspectives on political geography New York, NY, USA Routledge. pp. 113-126
Feminist political geographies.
Kofman, E. 2004. Feminist political geographies. in: Nelson, L. and Seager, J. (ed.) Companion to feminist geography. Oxford Blackwell.
Gender and international migration in Europe: employment, welfare and politics
Kofman, E., Phizacklea, A., Raghuram, P. and Sales, R. 2000. Gender and international migration in Europe: employment, welfare and politics. Routledge.
Henri Lefebvre: key writings
Lebas, E., Kofman, E. and Elden, S. 2003. Henri Lefebvre: key writings. London Continuum.
Recovery and re-appropriation in Lefebvre and Constant
Lebas, E. and Kofman, E. 2000. Recovery and re-appropriation in Lefebvre and Constant. in: Hughes, J. and Sadler, S. (ed.) Non-plan: essays on freedom, participation and change in modern architecture and urbanism. Oxford Architectural.
Gendered migrations: livelihoods and entitlements in European welfare regimes.
Kofman, E. 2007. Gendered migrations: livelihoods and entitlements in European welfare regimes. in: Piper, N. (ed.) New perspectives on gender and migration: livelihood, rights and entitlements Routledge/UNRISD. pp. 59-101
Gender and global labour migrations: incorporating skilled workers
Kofman, E. and Raghuram, P. 2006. Gender and global labour migrations: incorporating skilled workers. Antipode. 38 (2), pp. 282-303. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8330.2006.00580.x
Gender and skilled migration: into and beyond the work place
Kofman, E. and Raghuram, P. 2005. Gender and skilled migration: into and beyond the work place. Geoforum. 36 (2), pp. 149-154. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoforum.2004.06.001
Figures of the cosmopolitan: privileged nationals and national outsider.
Kofman, E. 2005. Figures of the cosmopolitan: privileged nationals and national outsider. Innovation: The European Journal of Social Science Research. 18 (1), pp. 83-97. https://doi.org/10.1080/1351161042000334808
Secure borders and safe haven and the gendered politics of belonging: Beyond social cohesion
Yuval-Davis, N., Anthias, F. and Kofman, E. 2005. Secure borders and safe haven and the gendered politics of belonging: Beyond social cohesion. Ethnic and Racial Studies. 28 (3), pp. 513-535. https://doi.org/10.1080/0141987042000337867
Citizenship, migration and the reassertion of national identity
Kofman, E. 2005. Citizenship, migration and the reassertion of national identity. Citizenship Studies. 9 (5), pp. 453-467. https://doi.org/10.1080/13621020500301221
Family-related migration: a critical review of European studies
Kofman, E. 2004. Family-related migration: a critical review of European studies. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. 30 (2), pp. 243-262. https://doi.org/10.1080/1369183042000200687
Gendered global migrations
Kofman, E. 2004. Gendered global migrations. International Feminist Journal of Politics. 6 (4), pp. 642-664. https://doi.org/10.1080/1461674042000283408
State, labour markets and immigration: overseas doctors in the UK.
Raghuram, P. and Kofman, E. 2002. State, labour markets and immigration: overseas doctors in the UK. Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space. 34, pp. 2071-2089. https://doi.org/10.1068/a3541
Into the 1990s: a gendered agenda for political geography
Kofman, E. and Peake, L. 1990. Into the 1990s: a gendered agenda for political geography. Political Geography. 9 (4), pp. 313-336. https://doi.org/10.1016/0260-9827(90)90032-6