African migration has a long history. Migration patterns in present day Africa are still greatly influenced by historical factors such as colonialism and its creation of arbitrary borders that sought to divide ethnically linked populations into different countries. Over the past few decades there has been an overall rise in ‘feminisation’ of migration in Africa as millions of women gradually became economic beings with a responsibility to contribute financially to their families. As it stands now, nearly half (49%) of all migrant workers are women . An activity that used to be largely male dominated has become increasingly feminine.
It was the norm especially in the colonial era for male labourers to leave their families behind and cross international boundaries looking for work, especially in the Southern African region where the South African mines proved to be a magnet for employment. Women are now more than ever migrating independently as a means of meeting their own economic needs rather than migrating to join a husband and family . This brief article focuses on answering two critical questions with regard to the feminisation of migration, namely:
1. What have been the major drivers of female migration in Africa?
2. What are the outcomes (positive or negative) of female migration?