Invisible among the Invisible: Women Migrant Workers and State Apathy

Author:   Aishwarya Bhuta
Publisher:   GRFDT
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The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a massive toll on lives as well as livelihoods. The lockdown initiated in its wake brought nearly all economic activities to a staggering halt. With no work and no home to go to, stranded migrant workers began walking or cycling for miles in the scorching heat. As these visuals became viral, the hitherto invisible and taken-for-granted migrant worker became hyper-visible – on the highways, streets, bus stands and railway stations. However, the gendered aspects of migration have been overlooked. The discourse created around the plight of migrant workers is largely androcentric. Policy responses have abysmally failed to acknowledge the presence of and problems faced by female migrants, leave apart addressing these. This paper asks some pertinent questions. What are the challenges faced by female labour migrants? Why should an androcentric discourse be problematised? What should be the policy responses and what is the role of the state in abating the crisis faced by migrant women? It is argued that female migrant workers are a socio-economic entity forming a crucial and indispensable component of the migration question.
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