‘Some people expect women should always be dependent’: Indian women's experiences as highly skilled migrants

Anu Kõu, Ajay Bailey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)


The intersections of migration and gender have been well established in the literature. This article seeks to look beyond the notion of women as tied movers and to highlight women's central position in the high-skilled migration process and complement it with the perspectives of male migrants. Our findings are based on 47 qualitative life course interviews with high-skilled Indian migrants in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, and illustrated in detail through the life stories of four female participants. We found that for highly skilled Indian women, migration can represent an opportunity to diverge from normative paths and escape from patriarchal norms, but that they still seek a compromise between these cultural constraints and their personal aspirations. Whereas in the Western context traditions and modernity are generally seen as being in opposition to each other, we show that in the Indian context women may continue to adhere to the normative age at marriage, while also pursuing a professional career and combining family and employment. We conclude that migration can thus both facilitate and limit the professional development of women, particularly those from traditional cultural backgrounds who are redefining the role of women in their society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)178-186
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 01-10-2017


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science

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