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Impact of Male Out-Migration on Women Left Behind: A Study of Two Villages in Uttar Pradesh

Ruchi Singh

Abstract

Male out-migration is the most often adopted strategy in rural areas to surmount risks associated with agriculture and to diversify income. There are various reasons for the increased exodus of labor from rural areas, such as underdevelopment, unemployment, less availability of non-farm jobs and population pressure. Uttar Pradesh has the highest number of male out-migrants. Male persistent absence has many repercussions on women left behind. Despite this, there is a dearth of literature on the impact of migration on women left behind. The current study tries to fill this void. The objective of the study is to look into various socioeconomic, psychological and political impacts of male out-migration on women left behind. To meet the objective, 100 women from migrant households were surveyed in two randomly selected villages of Uttar Pradesh using snowball methodology. The study found that the impact of male out-migration on women has both positive and negative facets. Migration has increased their household income, thereby increasing their social status in village. But economic gains are often offset by increased workload of women in household and agriculture. Although decision-making has empowered women, at the same time a lack of financial autonomy and an inability to take decisions on important matters impedes their empowerment. Insecurity and loneliness are other major issues, followed by a hindrance in access to entitlements. Women are more prone to physical, social and verbal abuse in the absence of men. Thus in order to reap positive benefits of out-migration, the government should empower women by providing them agriculture-related technical knowledge and should encourage a change in the mindset of communities.

Keywords

Out migration; Financial Autonomy; Empowerment; Decision making; Rural; Women

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