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Volume: I, Issue: I, July - December 2010


FEMALE MIGRATION TO MEGA CITIES OF INDIA







Abstract

The present paper tries to understand the pattern and trend of female migration to six mega cities of India namely Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad and Bangalore having more than five million population each. The study uses the census data at two periods of time,namely, 1991 and 2001. It is found that most of the migrants to these six cities originate from relatively backward states of India. Marriage is still the most important factor of female migration in India, but, its importance as a cause of female migration has declined over the time. On the other hand, it is quite encouraging to find that the proportion of females migrating for work, employment and education is increasing over the period of time. The volume of female migration to all the six mega cities has also increased over the period of time.



Keywords Content

 

INTRODUCTION

Migration takes place from one area to another in search of improved livelihoods in terms of employment, education and other facilities. Migration is an intrinsic part of development and so are the changes that development brings about in the role and status of women. Earlier the focus on migration research was on males. But recently, the focus has shifted more on females which is known as feminization of migration [UN, 1993]. In many countries, women's education still lags behind that of men. Few women are entrepreneurs, investors, lawyers, journalists, physicians, scientists, academicians, or politicians. Although the situation is changing, women still lack a voice in decision making, especially, in the most important areas of economic, civil or political life. The country is in a transitional phase of the development, especially, since the economic liberalization started in 1991. The rapid pace of development in social, economic and other spheres is bound to influence the mobility and migration of population in general and, females in particular. The migration data of 2001 census gives an opportunity to throw more light on the internal female migration in India. Female migration is for economic reasons like employment, education etc.

 

Migration refers to the movement of persons from the place of origin to another destination with a permanent change in residence for a number of reasons like social, cultural, economic and non-economic factors. It plays the important role in population growth, improving economic and the social condition of the people. Needless to emphasize the situation of women with regards to voluntary female migration due to the socio-cultural and patriarchal factors that foreclose such independence.The marginalization of women’s concerns in the context of migration is related to the overall socio-economic status of women, the non-recognition and undervaluation of their work. Large magnitude of females' migration linked to marriage and other associated reasons have curtailed any economic significance being attached to the gender dimensions of labour migration. It was only by the mid 1980’s that the female migration received some attention and, their contribution to labour, largely in the unorganized sector, came into focus. Generally, people move out of their usual place of residence to big cities in search of employment and better economic opportunity.

 

Mobility and migration are a part of development process resorted  to by people to improve their socio-economic condition. Migration plays an important role in changing the demographic composition of any country, state, and districts population. It is as important as fertility and mortality. Man can control the fertility and mortality, but in the case of migration, it is difficult to control. We can not achieve development by stopping or controlling the process of migration. The female migration is somewhat neglected from the academic focus. A significant share of female migration is associated with marriage due to the prevailing cultural system followed in the country. Migration can help raise women from the lower to lower-middle class socio-economic ranks. Many women tend to remit more of their earnings than man and also exercise control of their household income by ensuring the remittances are spent on food and clothes for the family back home [IMO, 2004].


Ravenstein’s laws of migration [1985] states that women are more mobile than men over shorter than long distance. Therefore, the population of women among migrants moving over shorter distance is likely to be higher than that among migrants moving over long distance. Women are likely to be better represented among intra-district than among inter-district migrants and inter-state migrants. Premi [1980] finds a higher percentage of women migrating from rural to rural destination compared to rural to urban destination. The comparison of female migrants in rural to urban stream seems to be associated with the distance involved in migration and the size of city.In Latin American countries, there is a preponderance of female migration from rural to urban areas. This is mainly because women are marginalized in agricultural sector. There is non-existence of paid work opportunities at rural origin and family tradition encourages daughters to depart. The main motive of this type of female migration is to seek and enter the labour market, work as domestic servant and seek other manual jobs. But they failed to pinpoint the rural stress [Orlansky and Dubrovspy, 1978; pp: 8-15]. Karlekar [1979] found that the continuation of female employment in traditional occupations [mostly scavenging and sweeping] amongst Balmiki in Delhi constituted a strategy to assume a regular income however meagre, while men looked after for avenues of occupational mobility. There is an urgent need for better information on internal migration in general, and, on female migration in particular. At the same time, migration will continue to change the face of planet and female migrants will continue to play an important part in those changes [UN, 1991].


Since women are ready to work for any wage, they are in great demand, contributing to feminization of labour migration. No doubt, theses labour market changes have had impact on rural-urban migration. Many middle and upper middle class women migrate to cities for improving their educational credentials and to get suitable employment apparently in a quest for social advancement and, also to enhance their status in the marriage market. Among the semi-literate, young girls migrating to towns/cities to work in export processing units, garment industry, electronic assembling and food processing units is continuously on the increase in the recent years. To augment family income, families which have some land holding in the rural areas, send their daughters to work, mostly, as domestic servants where they are supposed to be safe in the custody of the lady of the house. First the elder daughter is sent out and she is replaced by the second, third and so on, as one by one they get married. The wife instead of staying back in the village prefers to join her husband in the hope of getting some employment in the destination area. Family migration among agricultural wage labourers who have no land or other assets to fall back on at times of crisis is becoming increasingly common. Moreover, in the poorest groups male dominance is generally tempered by women’s contribution and marriage works in a more inter-dependency mode [Shanthi, 2006].


At early age, girls become economically independent living on their own in the cities and sending remittances home. [Thadani and Todaro, 1984]. “…. Rapid economic change may create a situation where traditional roles for women no longer fit their current life. The necessity or desire for young women to leave home to work elsewhere means that they may spend their adolescent years living far from their families. While young men had always been permitted and even encouraged to have a social life outside the family, girls were socialized to remain close to home and to fulfil many family obligations. When these obligations shift to providing economic support to rural parents who desperately need outside income or to provide educational funds for younger siblings, young women may migrate alone to work without the protection and support of their parents” [Barbara, 2003]. A case study on migrants to Delhi sponsored by UNESCO indicates that a majority of the autonomous female migrants to Delhi were never married young women of less than 25 years of age. Although, employment or education was the main reason, “marriage” was cited as the underlying factor for migration [NIUA 1992].


On closer inspection, many of these movements were marriage-related or to accompany spouses [Memon, 2005]. Migration increasingly offers women education and career opportunity that may not be available, or be denied them at home, as well as alternatives to marriage, the traditional role of home maker and some of the more negative cultural practices relating to women. These opportunities include domestic work in other household [Momsen, 1999]. Female migration cannot be understood without relating to the dynamics of gender relations in the family and labor market. Women are neglected due to their secondary migrant status, which basically emanates from the assumption of the subsidiary income earning position of women. The traditional image of women as tied to home and family is not true for the working masses, which form a majority of the population. Women labour migration is increasingly a means through which asymmetrical, intersecting relations pertaining to gender, caste and class are structured and negotiated. This is particularly important in the context of major economic changes, which have implications for the mobility and structural position of women. The intensity of female labour migration has generally been accepted to increase over the past few decades, especially, with the changes in the economic structure [Neetha, 2004].


In the post-independent India, women who have been earning salaried remunerative occupations and professions, are increasing substantially. Women are working in almost all types of jobs such as technical, professional and non-professional in both private and public sectors, residing in rural and urban areas with or without their kith and kin. So, the traditional role of a housewife has gradually changed into a working housewife [Anand, 2003]. Despite the growing participation of women in extra domestic work throughout the economy, the study of the relationship between conditions in the work place, living conditions and their health has not been broadly developed with respect to the women worker [Devi, 2003]. Majority of the migrants are illiterate and unskilled. These illiterate and unskilled rural migrants are absorbed in very low quality urban informal sectors of metropolises. These migrants are attracted to largest metropolises, where there is large amount of investment/growth efforts. In-migration of landless agricultural laborers are occurring from very backward states to relatively prosperous states of India, where more agricultural and industrial investments have recently gone in. In-migration rate is high in those districts where general literacy is high and investment to agriculture is high [Mukherji, 2001].

 

Pattern and causes of women migration are changing in India. An increasing proportion of women is moving towards urban areas, particularly to big cities for reasons other than marriage. The femininity ratio of urban population is continuously improving in India. The femininity ratio of migrant population is found to be higher than femininity ratio of non-migrant population. A very high incidence of marginalization and invisibility of labour and employment among migrant women is found than in migrant male. Distribution of workers among employment related women migrants by occupational divisions showed that majority of women workers were found to concentrate in the bottom and top of the occupational hierarchy. Majority of the illiterate and semi-literate migrant women were clustering in occupational categories of transport, production and related works and service works. The women with educational level above matriculate were heavily concentrating in professional, technical and related works and clerical categories. Cities with a higher proportion of rural women migrant workers have a heavy concentration of women migrant workers in low grade, low paid, informal sector jobs, whereas, cities with urban women migrants have an overwhelming proportion of migrant women workers in professional, technical and related work categories [Gupta, 1993].

 

In 1951, there were only four metropolitan cities, but this number has increased to 35 in 2001, a seven fold increase in fifty years. In addition Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad and Bangalore continue to be the leading metros of India, each with population more than 5 millions. These six big urban areas are also known as mega cities of India having more than five million population [2001]. It has attracted migrants from all over the country. Many studies have been done on the patterns of internal migration in India. Most of them focused on the male migration.Traditionally, it is believed that females in India migrate to short distance and mostly due to the reason for marriage purpose. The urbanizations, privatization, globalization of Indian economy may affect the migration of the population in general, and female in particular. It is assumed that with these changes in the economy and society, there might be more female migration. It would bring changes in the level and patterns of female migration in India.The available literature on recent trends of female migration is also scanty since the focus is mostly on male migration. Hence, there is need to study the female migration especially to the mega cities in India. The objectives of this paper are to study the spatial pattern, trend and causes of female migration into mega cities of India. Census of India is the main source of information on migration. The present study is based on secondary data collected by Census. Migration data of 1991 and 2001 are used for this study. The study is limited to six mega cities which existed during the 2001 census. Here the migrants are classified on the basis of place of last residence with duration of residence from 0-9 years. Simple percentage, rates and ratios are used for the analysis. Charts and maps have been used to explain the flow of migration streams.

 

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

Table 1 shows the volume of male and female migration to six mega cities of India in 1991 and 2001. Mumbai shows high percent of male migrants during 1991 and 2001. The percent of female migrants to Mumbai urban agglomeration is 43.77 percent in year 1991, but, it decreased to 42.07 percent in 2001. The volume of male and female migrants has increased in all the six mega cities during 1991 and 2001. Mumbai has experienced more increase in male migration than Delhi. In Mumbai, it has increased to 58 percent in 2001. The percentage of female migration has declined during the same period. On the whole, the volume of male and female migration has increased over the two census periods. Percentage of male migrants is high in Mumbai [56.23 percent in 1991 and 57.93 in 2001 percent]. Percentage of female migrants is high in Hyderabad [49.08 percent in 1991] and in Chennai [48.61 percent]. Volume of male and female migrants is highest for Mumbai urban agglomeration in comparison to other mega cities.

 

The contribution of migrant population to the total population of each of the six cities both in 1991 and 2001 is presented in Table 2. It is found that in Delhi and Mumbai, migrants constitute about 44 percent of the total population in 2001. This has increased from the earlier figure of 39 percent in Delhi and 35 percent in Mumbai in 1991. The contribution of migrants to the total population has increased for all the cities except Chennai, where it has declined in 2001. The proportion of female migrants to the total female population has increased in all the cities except Chennai and Hyderabad where it has declined. The above table clearly shows that migrants constitute a significant proportion of the total population in all the cities and this increases over the time.

 

Sex ratio of the population is an important demographic parameter. Table 3 shows the sex ratio of the total population as well as of the migrant population. Here, numbers of females per 1000 males is taken as the sex ratio of the population. Urban sex ratio which is highly skewed in favour of males has marginally improved in 2001 in comparison with 1991, except in Delhi and Mumbai where it has declined further. The sex ratio among migrants is still more skewed in favour of males than the general population. This is found to be true for all the cities during 2001 Census. It implies that there is a predominance of male migration to these mega cities.Table 4 explains the educational attainments of the female migrants. The educational qualification is divided into six categories. It is found that the majority of the female migrants in all the six cities are illiterate. It is highest in Delhi [45.3 percent] followed by Hyderabad [43.3 percent] and it is lowest in Chennai [29.6 percent]. The proportion of women who have either higher qualification [graduate and above] or professional qualification is extremely low. This implies that the majority of the migrants are either unskilled or semi-skilled. About 10.0 percent of the women migrants in Delhi are graduate and above, while it is 8.0 percent for Hyderabad and Bangalore.

 

Table 5 shows the duration of stay of the female migrants at these six cities. It is found that more than half of the female migrants in Delhi [55.2 percent], Mumbai [60 percent] and Kolkata [59 percent] are staying for ten years and above in 2001. It is proportionately low for Chennai [40 percent], Hyderabad [34 percent] and Bangalore [40 percent]. Recent migration of less than one year duration is between 1-2 percent in all the cities. Bangalore has the highest proportion of female migrants [20 percent] of duration 1-4 years followed by Hyderabad [18.6 percent] and Delhi [17.9 percent] in 2001. Similarly, the cities having the highest proportion of female migration of duration 5-9 years is Delhi [18 percent] followed by Mumbai [15.7 percent] Hyderabad [14 percent] and Bangalore [14 percent].One of the most important characteristics of migration is reasons or causes of migration. Table six shows the reasons of female migration is categorized into seven types namely employment, business, education, marriage, family moved, natural calamities and others in the 1991 census. During 2001 census two reasons, namely, family moved and natural calamities were dropped. Instead two new reasons, namely, moved after birth and moved with household were added during the 2001 census period. As it is well known, the most important reason of female migration in India is marriage. The data in table six also shows that 46 percent of the females migrate to Mumbai due to marriage followed by Kolkata [38 percent], Bangalore [33.5 percent], Delhi [33 percent], Chennai [25.2 percent] and Hyderabad [21 percent] in 2001. The proportion of marriage migration has declined over period in Delhi, Chennai, and Hyderabad and has increased in Mumbai and Kolkata. It has remained constant in Bangalore.

 

It is found that females migrating for employment are low. It is found to be highest in Bangalore [7.2 percent] followed by Hyderabad [7 percent], Chennai [6 percent], Delhi [4.2 percent], Mumbai [3.7 percent] and Kolkata [3.1 percent]. The proportion of migration for employment has increased over time in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore while it has declined in Kolkata, Chennai and Hyderabad during the same period. As the data shows, women in India rarely migrate for the purpose of business. Less than one percent of the women in India migrate to the big cities for doing business and this declined over the period. The data further reveals that females in India also migrate for educational purpose. The highest proportion females migrating for education is found in Bangalore [1.7 percent] followed by Hyderabad [1.5 percent], Chennai [1.2 percent], Mumbai [0.8 percent], Delhi [0.7 percent] and Kolkata [0.5 percent]. It is most surprising that the proportion of females migrating for higher education has declined in all the cities in 2001 in comparison with 1991. It is expected that with modernization, development and increasing female autonomy, more females would migrate for education and business. But the data shows that the above presumption is not true in India. A significant proportion of the females are migrating along with the family as dependent migrants as the whole family moves to the cities. Females in India mostly migrate due to family reason like marriage, family moved etc. rather than economic reason like employment, education and business. Women in India have miles to go before they migrate for economic reasons found in developed countries of the world.

 

Table 7 shows the female migration from rural area to six mega cities in 1991 and 2001. The Table shows that female migration has declined due to marriage in all six mega cities of India except Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Bangalore in 2001 in comparison with 1991. This table shows that 48.52 percent of the females migrate to Mumbai due to marriage followed by Kolkata [52.06 percent], Chennai [36.76 percent], Hyderabad [27.47 percent] and Bangalore [42.83 percent] and Delhi [34.43 percent] in 2001. It is found that females migrating for employment are high in Bangalore [10.18 percent] in 2001 in comparison with 1991. It is found that female migration has increased due to employment in Hyderabad [9.9 percent], Chennai [8.28 percent], Kolkata [4.77 percent], Delhi [4.42 percent] and Mumbai [3.86 percent] in 2001 in comparison with 1991. It is also found that female migration has decreased due to education in Bangalore [1.33 percent], Hyderabad [1.68 percent] and Delhi [0.36 percent], Mumbai [0.67 percent], Kolkata [0.56 percent] and Chennai [1.05 percent] in 2001 comparison with 1991. Female migration has declined due to business in all six mega cities in 2001 in comparison with 1991. Females in India migrate due to family reasons like marriage, family moved and moved with household etc. rather than economic reasons like employment, education and business. Table 8 shows the female migration from urban area to six mega cities in 1991 and 2001. Table shows that female migration has declined due to marriage in all six mega cities of India except Mumbai, Kolkata and Bangalore in 2001 in comparison with 1991. This table shows that 46.05 percent of the females migrate to Mumbai due to marriage followed by Kolkata [47.26 percent], Chennai [30.47 percent], Hyderabad [24.88 percent] and Bangalore [39.12 percent] and Delhi [38.5 percent] in 2001. Table shows that female migration has increased in Mumbai, Kolkata and Bangalore in 2001 in comparison with 1991. It is found that female migration due to employment is high in Delhi [4.53 percent] in 2001 in comparison with 1991. It is also found that female migration has increased for employment in Bangalore [7.43 percent], Chennai [7.53 percent], Delhi [4.53 percent] and Mumbai [3.82 percent] in 2001 in comparison with 1991. It is found that female migration has increased due to education in Bangalore [2.58 percent] and Delhi [1.32 percent] in 2001 in comparison to 1991. There has been almost equal female migration due to education in Chennai and Hyderabad in 2001 in comparison to 1991. Female migration has declined for business in all six mega cities in 2001 in comparison with 1991.

 

The information on female migration within the state to six mega cities in 1991 and 2001 is presented in Table 9. It is found that female migration has declined due to marriage except in Mumbai in 2001 in comparison with 1991. This table shows that 47.29 percent of the females migrate to Mumbai due to marriage followed by Kolkata [44.35 percent], Chennai [28.14 percent], Hyderabad [22.14 percent], Bangalore [39.22 percent] and Delhi [15.83 percent] in 2001. It is found that females migrating for employment are high in Bangalore [8.3 percent] and Mumbai [3.57 percent] in 2001 in comparison with 1991. It is found that female migration has declined due to employment in Delhi [0.99 percent], Kolkata [4.28 percent], Chennai [6.49 percent] and Hyderabad [7.61 percent] in 2001. Females in India migrate due to mostly marriage, family moved etc. rather than economic reason like employment, education and business. Table 10 shows the female migration from other states of India to six mega cities in 1991 and 2001. Table shows that female migration has declined due to marriage in all six mega cities of India in 2001 in comparison with 1991. This table shows that 45.82 percent of the females migrate to Mumbai due to marriage followed by Kolkata [39.95 percent], Chennai [28.51 percent], Hyderabad [23.3 percent] and Bangalore [37.35 percent] and Delhi [35.59 percent] in 2001. It is found that females migrating for employment are high in Bangalore [7.97 percent], Mumbai [3.88 percent] and Delhi [4.49 percent] in 2001 in comparison with 1991. It is found that female migration has declined due to employment in Kolkata [4.01 percent], Chennai [6.28 percent] and Hyderabad [7.19 percent] in 2001. The highest proportion females migrating for education is found in Bangalore [2.33 percent], it has declined in Delhi [0.73 percent], Mumbai [0.67 percent], Kolkata [0.59 percent], Chennai [1.34 percent] and Hyderabad [1.07 percent] in 2001 in comparison with 1991.

 

Table 11 shows the female migration from other countries to six mega cities in 1991 and 2001. It is found that female migration has declined due to marriage in all six mega cities of India except Delhi and Bangalore in 2001 in comparison with 1991. This table shows that 18.83 percent of the females migrate to Mumbai due to marriage followed by Kolkata [19.15 percent], Chennai [9.73 percent], Hyderabad [13.78 percent], Bangalore [17.11 percent] and Delhi [9.79 percent] in 2001. It is also found that females migrating for employment is high in Delhi [2.87 percent] and Mumbai [2.8 percent] in 2001 in comparison with 1991. It is found that female migration has declined due to employment in Kolkata [1.87 percent], Chennai [3.9 percent], Hyderabad [5.56 percent] and Bangalore [6.97 percent] in 2001 in comparison with 1991. The highest proportion females migrating for education is found in Bangalore [10.1 percent], Hyderabad [2.42 percent] and Delhi [0.37 percent], it has declined in Mumbai [0.94 percent], Kolkata [0.39 percent] and Chennai [1.53 percent] in 2001 in comparison with 1991. Table shows that female migration is high in Kolkata due to business in 2001 in comparison with 1991.Table 12 shows the volume of female migration from each state of India to all the six mega cities during 1991 and 2001. It is found that in 2001, the highest percentage of female migrants in these six cities came from Uttar Pradesh [32.0 percent] followed by Bihar [10.0 percent], Gujarat [7.0 percent], Tamil Nadu [6.0 percent], Rajasthan [5.8 percent] and Haryana [5.8 percent]. Other states having significant proportion of female out-migration are Andhra Pradesh [4.3 percent], Karnataka [5.1 percent], Kerala [4.5 percent], Punjab [3.2 percent], Uttaranchal [2.9 percent] and West Bengal [2.8 percent]. Almost similar trend of female out-migration is observed form all these above states during 1991.

 

Maps 1-12 portray the flow of female migration from different states to each of the six mega cities during 1991 and 2001. In 2001, the majority of the female migrants in Delhi came form Uttar Pradesh [9.3 lakh] followed by Haryana [2.6 lakh], Bihar [2.1 lakh], Uttaranchal [1.3 lakh], Punjab [1.2 lakh] and Rajasthan [1.2 lakh]. In case of Mumbai, the majority of the female migrants came from Uttar Pradesh [4.9 lakh] followed by Gujarat [3.1 lakh], Karnataka [1.9 lakh] and Rajasthan [1.1 lakh]. Kolkata records the highest number of female migrants form Bihar [1.9 lakh] followed by Uttar Pradesh [72,000]. Chennai has received the highest number of female migrants from Kerala, followed by Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. The states having significant proportion of female migrants in Hyderabad are Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. Bangalore records the highest number of female migrants from Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala.

 

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION

The volume of male and female migration has increased in all the six mega cities during 1991 and 2001. The perc