Migration, Mobility and Transnational Families: The Case of Indian Women Migrating to South Africa
Keywords:Indian women; gender; transnational migration; trailing spouses; skilled labour
The history of labour migration to South Africa spans centuries. More recently flows of skilled and unskilled, documented and undocumented migration to South Africa have reached significant proportions. While men have predominated in the flows of migration streams to South Africa, the feminisation of migration has increased the visibility and role of women in the migration context. The impact of migration on the lives of skilled married women has been given little attention in the migration literature. Characterised as trailing spouses in the broader migration literature, the article explores, through a life-course framework, how skilled Indian women renegotiate their lives when leaving secure jobs to follow their spouses to a foreign country. Attention is given to how mobility is negotiated between the spouses, the impact of mobility on the family and the influence of transnationalism on the migrants and their families in South Africa. The article is based on exploratory research using qualitative in-depth interviews conducted with married skilled Indian women who migrated as co-dependents to South Africa.