We are ALL equal. It’s time to understand and appreciate women migrant workers
There are currently 11.6 million documented migrant workers residing in South-East Asia and the Pacific subregion and nearly half of them are women. Many of those women migrant workers are working in domestic work, entertainment, seafood processing, electronics manufacturing, and garment manufacturing, among other sectors. For instance, in Thailand, there are approximately 3.9 million migrant workers from Cambodia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar and Viet Nam, who are playing a key role in the Thai society.
Despite their crucial contributions to the economies and societies of both origin countries and Thailand, migrant workers, especially women, frequently experience negative attitudes, discrimination, exploitation, and sometimes violence during the migration process. These challenges are rooted in gender inequality and reflect myth around migrant workers, especially women migrant workers.
According to a UN study conducted in Malaysia, Japan, Singapore and Thailand, the public support for migrants is largely driven by the personal relationships that people have with migrant workers, rather than the demographic characteristics of migrant workers.
The negative attitudes towards women migrant workers can be eliminated by social inclusion, interaction with migrant workers, and engagement with migrant communities.
It's time to understand and appreciate and women migrant workers. We are all equal.
Attitudes that women’s work is of lower value than men’s work, unfortunately, are prevalent. They place women migrant workers in social positions of inferiority, resulting in pay at rates often below what workers in other sectors receive. This is especially true for those in the informal economy, such as in domestic work. With limited social protections, including limited access to services when violence happens, women migrant workers can face higher risks of exploitation and gender-based violence. Furthermore, some domestic workers face the restriction of movement imposed by their employers, resulting in isolation and restricted ability to seek help when it is needed. Though illegal, some employers terminate their jobs if they are pregnant.