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Internal migration and gender empowerment: Empirical finding from Namibia

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CNR-JSPS Bilateral Program 2018-2019: “Damage assessment and conservation of underground space as valuable resources for human activities use in Italy and Japan”

Presentation at the first visit of the Italian team in Japan (June 2018)

Bruno Venditto (CNR-ISSM): "Internal migration and gender empowerment: Empirical finding from Namibia".

ABSTRACT: The presentation show how social mobility, and gender empowerment, emerged as the most relevant amongst the effects of migration on the family structures, and inside the home community; an indication of both the relevance that social rather than economic reasons alone, have in explaining the drivers to migrate, and of the capacity of migration to transform the external social structures.
The agency migrant is at the same time dependent from the social norms, but looks for and creates a separateness environment, balancing the responsibilities towards the family and the own personal plans. The social norms are embedded in the migrant self, but when coming to the decision to move, the agency acts to achieve the own personal objectives, which are not limited to the financial satisfaction, in this way migration decision is also separated from the structural economic constrains.

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Internal migration and gender empowerment: Empirical finding from Namibia

  1. 1. Internal migration and gender empowerment: Empirical finding from Namibia CNR-JSPS Bilateral program 2018-2019 Bruno Venditto venditto@issm.cnr.it This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
  2. 2. • Migration in a gender perspective • The Namibian study’s context • The methodology • The findings – Extrapolation of gender results • Conclusion • References Introduction
  3. 3. Until the late 1970s, most writings on international migration either focused explicitly only on male migrants (usually conceived of as workers) or seemed to assume implicitly that most migrants were male. That assumption was particularly prevalent when attention was focused on the economic aspects of international migration, because it was widely believed that the participation of women in international labor migration was negligible. (Zlotnik, 2003) Migration in a gender perspective data on international migrants often were not classified by sex The first such set, containing estimates for the period 1965-1990, was released by the United Nations Population Division in 1998.
  4. 4. Migration in a gender perspective Since 2000 the female/male proportion has remained the same with a slight decline in 2015 to 48%
  5. 5. • Neoclassic migration theories emphasising on the wage differential between the areas of origin and those of destinations, as well as the Newly Economic Labour Migration associating the movement to the family’s strategy to face external constrains, apparently do not differentiate between female and male migrants. • Migration, being the result of an economic rational individual decision or a family strategy decision, the need to support family provide women and men alike with strong reasons for migrating. • However, poverty does not always lead individuals to the decisions of migrate, this is particularly true for women migrants. Migration in a gender perspective This is one of the Namibian empirical findings Nowadays trend in Japan migration rates is in decrease. nevertheless Tokyo area and Aichi area population share is in constant increase.
  6. 6. Namibia is a relatively young country, previously known as South West Africa was a German colony till 1915, after WWI it was administrated as a South African protectorate, de facto it was a South African province and was subject to the same apartheid regime. In 1990 after a prolonged liberation struggle started in the sixty, Namibia gained its independence. In this 28 years the country had to tackle the structural imbalances determined by more than 100 years of colonisation which had left it with a dual economy dependent of extraction of raw materials (diamonds, among the main one). The Namibian Context Life expectancy 62 years Literacy rate 89% Gini coefficient 0.597 Unemployment rate 28% Poor households 18.3% 2.4 mil people GDP pc 11,830 (projection 17) Dual economic sector Export Raw materials Little value added Net importer of agricultural Products High urbanisation
  7. 7. • Grounded theory has been chosen, which rather than using the data to verify if an existing theory is valid, utilizes an inductive, from-the-ground-up approach using everyday behaviours or organizational patterns to generate theory. • Charmaz’s (2014), constructivist version has been adopted for the investigation of the socio economic impact of migration on the Namibian family structure perceived by the individuals who are the actors in it • Grounded theory tries to understand issues that give insight into people’s experiences of events that impact on their lives, emphasising the central role that the participants’ perspective assumes. The Methodology A reflexive strategy of constant comparison, allow the objectivity of the core categories embedded in the data to manifest to the researcher, bringing to the emergence of the substantive theory
  8. 8. The Findings
  9. 9. • At home and in the village I was a very shy and a quiet person, now I am open to everyone and enjoy my freedom with no fear. The major change this has produced is the respect people inside and outside the family, are showing to me. • They say that now I am responsible as a man. • … before I had to follow what my parents used to tell me, whatever their decision was. Now I am also part of the decisions. Participant 1 Extrapolation of gender results Different person Self confident
  10. 10. Extrapolation of gender results They respect me more because of my role and responsibilities, I can decide and give advice, which I did not do before. In a normal context they would look at a woman as less important than a man. Now that you are educated, and a provider, they look at you with more respect; this is because in general a breadwinner is considered with more respect. Participant 2 Different person Educated, empowered
  11. 11. Extrapolation of gender results I have seen how the world is going forward, not like before. I decided to come up with different ideas making sure I will work hard for my goals. Now I have seen that I can do something when it come to the development of our country; I could become someone important everywhere, someone who could change the situation. People believe that a woman cannot leave a house because the man would not believe she went to earn a living but to look for something else; they may end up in disagreement with each other and affecting the relationship very badly. In my case i have shown that this is not true. Participant 6a Different person Challenging the status quo
  12. 12. Extrapolation of gender results Emerges a common sense of empowerment understood as ‘conscientization’ described by Freire (1973), as the capacity of the women of critically assessing their ‘subordinated’ condition and actively engaging to modify it. At the same time transpires the agent-structure interaction, where the participant, the agent, individually takes cognisance of the self, and her path to empowerment, is negotiated within the stringent structural constraints. (Yu, 2007 ) Duality of agent / structure relationship
  13. 13. Extrapolation of gender results Gender relationship have changed in the sense that now it is accepted that women do the things done by the men, somehow the differences between men and women was also caused by apartheid because we were thought to believe that women could only do certain things for example being nurses or teachers, or maid. Living in a different environment and with access to education, has opened my mind more. Participant 11 My vision of women has changed a lot, in the village you do not think of women as persons, you only think of them as ‘sex object’ but now I have seen a lot of value in women and since I have moved to Windhoek I have a lot of respect for them. In the village now I encourage them to study and I also speak with the guys I know that beat their girlfriends to explain that this is not correct, at least while I am in the village they do not do it anymore. Those are small changes that can also change the life in the village but it will take time because when I am not there I do not know how they behave. Participant 13 Change in Male gender perspective
  14. 14. Conclusion Without overlooking to the agency capacity to make the decision, even in the presence of modest economic family conditions, the findings lead to believe that individual had a predominant role in the decision to move. Migration does not appear as a collective decision taken by the migrant’s family Structural constraints Agency FAMILY STRATEGY RATIONAL DECISION Dependent - Separateness
  15. 15. Conclusion The agency migrant is at the same time dependent from the social norms, but looks for and creates a separateness environment, balancing the responsibilities towards the family and the own personal plans. The social norms are embedded in the migrant self, but when coming to the decision to move, the agency acts to achieve the own personal objectives, which are not limited to the financial satisfaction, in this way migration decision is also separated from the structural economic constrains Social mobility, and gender empowerment, emerged as the most relevant amongst the effects of migration on the family structures, and inside the home community; an indication of both the relevance that social rather than economic reasons alone, have in explaining the drivers to migrate, and of the capacity of migration to transform the external social structures Existing Norms Own social and personal motivation Dependent - Separateness

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