Impact of international female migration on the left behind husbands in Malang, Indonesia

Saseendran Pallikadavath, University of Portsmouth
Amie Kamanda, University of Portsmouth
Keppi Sukesi, University of Brawijaya
Faishal Aminuddin, University of Brawijaya
Henny Rosalinda, University of Brawijaya
Kierron Hattan, University of Portsmouth
Kandala Ngianga, University of Portsmouth

Female international labour migration has been increasing over the past two decades. In Southeast Asia, countries such as Indonesia, the Philippines and Sri Lanka have witnessed the feminization of migration. In Indonesia for example, an estimated 80% of the individuals migrating outside of the country are women. These are countries were traditional gender roles are still undergoing transformation. Yet, the paradox of traditional societies in which the married woman leaves her husband and children behind and migrates to work and earn money has not received adequate attention in the scholarship. The aim of this paper is to examine the social and economic impact of international female labour migration of married women in Indonesia on the left-behind husbands and fathers. This research utilises quantitative and qualitative data from the project ‘What happens to the family when women migrate?’ which was funded by the British Council Institutional Links grant, a mixed-method study investigating the socio-economic impacts of female international labour migration on household members in Indonesia. The quantitative data are derived from household surveys conducted in 2015 in two village case study sites situated in East Java. Husbands of international female migrants were recruited from the household surveys and approached for the semi-structured interviews. The interviews were transcribed and analysed thematically using QRS NVivo. The study found that left-behind husbands undertake domestic tasks such as cooking, cleaning, childcare. This is in addition to working full time. While most husbands try their best to cope with the absence of their wives, other highlighted the negative impact that the migration had which in some cases led to loneliness, high levels of stress, divorce and extramarital affairs.

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Presented in Poster Session 1