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Book Chapter

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Women comprise approximately half of all migrants across the world, and similarly account for nearly half of all of labor migration. But equality in numbers belies the systemic discrimination women confront in accessing employment opportunities through labor migration programs, as well as the experiences of women within those programs. Migration – and specifically labor migration – is not a gender-neutral phenomenon. The International Labor Organization (ILO) has expressed concern that as feminization of migration increases, women migrants will be increasingly vulnerable to “discrimination, exploitation and abuse… because of hardened attitudes towards migrants in general and because gender-based attitudes and perceptions continue to be slow in changing.” Underlying the ILO’s concern is its recognition that “[g]ender inequalities persist and labour markets remain highly segmented and segregated in both origin and destination countries.”1 When labor migration programs fail to adequately account for the unique social, economic and political realities of women, and when governments fail to adequately monitor recruitment and employment abuses and to ensure meaningful access to justice, systemic gender-based discrimination, exploitation and abuse of persists with impunity throughout the global labor market.


Gender equality, gender discrimination, gender law, gender-based law reform, human rights, international law