Forced Migration, Female Labour Force Participation, and Intra-household Bargaining: Does Conflict Empower Women?


Calderon, Valentina, Margarita Gafaro, and Ana Maria Ibanez. 2011. “Forced Migration, Female Labour Force Participation, and Intra-household Bargaining: Does Conflict Empower Women?” MICROCON Working Paper 56, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, Brighton, Great Britain.

Authors: Valentina Calderon, Margarita Gafaro, Ana Maria Ibanez


Civilian displacement is a common phenomenon in developing countries facing internal conflict. While displacement directly affects forced migrants, it also contributes to deteriorating labor conditions of vulnerable groups of receiving communities. For the displaced population the income losses are substantial, and as they migrate to cities they will most likely join the informal labor force. Qualitative evidence reveals displaced women are better suited to compete in urban labor markets as their labor experience is more relevant for some urban low skilled occupations. Our study uses this exogenous change in female labor force participation to test how this affects female bargaining power within the household. Our results show female displaced women work longer hours, earn similar wages and contribute in larger proportions to household earnings in contrast to rural women that stayed in rural areas. However, larger contributions to households’ earnings are not strengthening bargaining power, measured with several indicators, but severe forms of domestic violence is increasing among displaced women. The anger and frustration of displaced women increases violent punishment of children. Because children of displaced families have been direct victims of conflict and domestic violence, the intra-generational transmission of violence is highly likely.

Keywords: forced migration, female labor participation, intra-household bargaining, domestic violence

Topics: Armed Conflict, Displacement & Migration, Forced Migration, Domestic Violence, Economies, Gender, Households, Livelihoods, Political Economies

Year: 2011

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